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THe Triae History 

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of the 

American Revolution 


Sydney George Fisher 

Author of " The True Benjamin Franklin," " The Making of Pennsylvania,' 

*' Men, Women, and Manners in Colonial Times,'* ** The 

Evolution of the Constitution,'* etc. 

With Twenty-four Illustrations and Maps 

"Deplorable is the condition of that people who have nothing 
else than the wisdom and justice of another to depend upon.'* 


" It is impossible to imagine liberty in its fulness, if the people as 
a totality, the country, the nation, -whatever name is preferred, or its 
government, is not independent of foreign interference." 


Philadelphia &f London 

J. B. Lippincott Company 




V "^ 
3?u."bIIsliecX November, X9ose 

Mtectrotypcd and Printed by 
JB. JLippincott Company y jPJtiZadctyXtfa} tf- JS. 


THE purpose of this history of the Revolution is to 
use the original authorities rather more frankly than has 
been the practice with our historians. They appear to 
have thought it advisable to omit from their narratives 
a great deal which, to me, seems essential to a true 

I cannot feel satisfied with any description of the Revo- 
lution which treats the desire for independence as a sudden 
thought, and not a long growth and development, or which 
assumes that every detail of the conduct of the British gov- 
ernment was absurdly stupid, even from its own point of 
view, and that the loyalists were few in numbers and their 
arguments not worth considering. I cannot see any ad- 
vantage in not describing in their full meaning and force 
the smuggling, the buying of laws from the governors, 
and other irregular conduct in the colonies which led Eng- 
land to try to remodel them as soon as the fear of the 
French in Canada was removed. Nor can I accept a 
description which fails to reveal the salient details of the 
great controversy over the rather peculiar methods adopted 
by General Howe to suppress the rebellion. This contro- 
versy was a part of the Revolution. It involved the 
interesting question of Howe's instructions from the min- 
istry and the methods which the ministry intended to 
use with the revolted colonists. 

Whatever we may now think of Howe's conduct, and 
in whatever way we may try to explain it, the fact re- 
mains that it was once a subject which attracted universal 



attention and aroused most violent attacks upon him in 
England and among the loyalists in America. Some of 
these very plain-spoken arraignments, with the evidence 
in support of them, can still be read in the writings of 
Galloway, Van Schaack, and others, or in Howe's own 
defence, which some thought was the strongest argument 
against him. Why should these documents and the evi- 
dence taken before the Parliamentary committee of inquiry 
he concealed from the ordinary reader, with the result that 
if by chance he turns to the original authorities he is sur- 
prised to find that the Revolution there described is en- 
tirely different from the one in which he had been taught 
to believe ? 

Some of us might possibly not accept these attacks 
upon Howe as just or well founded ; they might think 
that his reply, which we can still read in his published 
"Narrative," was a complete defence and justification. 
There is no reason why we should not adopt any opinion or 
explanation which seems best. But I protest against the 
historians who refuse to give us a chance to form an opinion 
of our own on either the one side or the other. I protest 
against the concealing of this subject, of suppressing the 
whole of the evidence against Howe as well as the evidence 
in his favor ; and I protest because his conduct necessarily 
produced momentous results in the Revolution. 

To my mind the whole question of the conduct of 
General Howe is as important a part of history as the 
assistance rendered us by France ; for if what the people 
of his own time said of Howe be true, his conduct directly 
contributed to bring about our alliance with that country, 
and ultimately our independence. 

There has, it seems, been a strong temptation to with- 
hold from the modern public a knowledge of the contro- 
versy over Howe's conduct, because it is impossible to 


disclose that controversy in all its bearings without at the 
same time showing that the British government, up to the 
summer of 1778, used extremely lenient and conciliatory 
methods in dealing with the revolted colonists. The his- 
torians appear to have felt that to admit that such gentle 
methods were used would be inadvisable, would tend to 
weaken our side of the argument, and show that we were 
bent on independence for mere independence' sake. 

The historians seem to have assumed that we do not 
want to know about that controversy, or that it will be bet- 
ter for us not to know about it. They have assumed that 
it will be better for Americans to think that independence 
was a sudden and deplorable necessity and not a desire of 
long and ardent growth and cautiously planned intention. 
They have assumed that we want to think of England as 
having lost the colonies by failure to be conciliatory, and 
that the Revolution was a one-sided, smooth affair, with- 
out any of the difficulties or terrors of a rebellion or a 
great upheaval of settled opinion. 

The taint of these assumptions runs through all our his- 
tories. They are, I think, mistaken assumptions and an 
affront to our people. They prefer to know the truth, and 
the whole truth ; and there is nothing in the truth of which 
they need be afraid. 

Having decided to withhold from the public a knowledge 
of the contemporary opinion of Howe, the historians nat- 
urally conceal or obscure his relations to the Whig party, 
the position of that party in England, its connection with 
the rebel colonists, the peculiar difficulties under which 
the Tory ministry labored, and their instructions to Howe 
on the conduct of the war. Unless all these conditions 
are clearly set forth, most of the events and battles of the 
Eevolution are inexplicable. 

Before I discovered the omissions of our standard his- 


tories I always felt as though I were reading about some- 
thing that had never happened, and that was contrary to 
the ordinary experience of human nature. I could not 
understand how a movement which was supposed to have 
been such a deep uprooting of settled thought and custom 
a movement which is supposed to have been one of the 
great epochs of history could have happened like an 
occurrence in a fairy-tale. I could not understand the 
military operations ; and it seemed strange to me that they 
were not investigated, explained, and criticised like those 
of Napoleon's campaigns or of our own Civil War. 

I was never satisfied until I had spent a great deal of 
time in research, burrowing into the dust of the hundreds 
of old brown pamphlets, newspapers, letters, personal me- 
moirs, documents, publications of historical societies, and 
the interminable debates of Parliament which, now that the 
eye-witnesses are dead, constitute all the evidence that is 
left us of the story of the Revolution. Those musty docu- 
ments painted a very vivid picture upon my mind, and I 
wish I had the power of painting the picture as the original 
sources reveal it. 

I understand, of course, that the methods used by our 
historians have been intended to be productive of good re- 
sults, to build up nationality, and to check sectionalism and 
rebellion. Students and the literary class do not alto- 
gether like successful rebellions ; and the word revolution 
is merely another name for a successful rebellion. Rebel- 
lions are a trifle awkward when you have settled down, 
although the Declaration of Independence contains a clause 
to relieve this embarrassment by declaring that " govern- 
ments long established should not be changed for light or 
transient causes." The people who write histories are 
usually of the class who take the side of the government in 
a revolution ; and as Americans they are anxious to believe 


that our Eevolution was different from others, more de- 
corous, and altogether free from the atrocities, mistakes, 
and absurdities which characterize even the patriot party 
in a revolution. They do not like to describe in their 
full coloring the strong Americanism and the doctrines 
of the rights of man which inspired the party that put 
through our successful rebellion. They have accordingly 
tried to describe a revolution in which all scholarly, refined, 
and conservative persons might have unhesitatingly taken 
part; but such revolutions have never been known to 

The Eevolution was a much more ugly and unpleasant 
affair than most of us imagine. I know of many people 
who talk a great deal about their ancestors, but who I am. 
quite sure would not now take the side their ancestors 
chose. Nor was it a great, spontaneous, unanimous up- 
rising, all righteousness, perfection, and infallibility, a 
marvel of success at every step, and incapable of failure, 
as many of us very naturally believe from what we have 

The device of softening the unpleasant or rebellious 
features of the Eevolution does not, I think, accomplish 
the improving and edifying results among us, which the 
historians from their exalted station are so gracious as to 
wish to bestow. A candid and free disclosure of all that 
the records contain would be more appreciated by our 
people and of more advantage to them. They are as fully 
competent to judge of actions and events as any one of 
their number who takes upon himself the tasks of the 

It will be observed that I invariably speak of those 
colonists who were opposed to the rebellion as loyalists, 
and not as Tories. They never fully accepted the name 
Tory, either in its contemptuous sense or as meaning a 


member of the Tory party in England. They were not 
entirely in accord with that party. They regarded them- 
selves as Americans who were loyal to what they called 
the empire, and this distinction was, in their minds, of 
vast importance. I have labored to describe them strictly 
from their own point of view, with the arguments, facts, 
principles, and feelings which they used in their pamphlets 
and documents ; and I give them the name which they 
preferred. They were far more numerous than is gen- 
erally supposed; and on the difficult question of their 
numbers I shall give my readers the advantage of all that 
I can find in the records. 

In the illustrations of this volume I have for the 
most part avoided reproductions of portraits, because they 
are apt to be misleading. I have given, however, the por- 
traits of two loyalists, whose fine clothes do not perhaps 
misrepresent them. We can have faith in very few of the 
Revolutionary portraits as likenesses ; and the handsome 
clothes or magnificent uniforms in which it was easy 
enough to paint patriot officers, and the modern illustrator's 
efforts to produce elegance or quaintness, are altogether in- 
consistent with the agitation, ragged poverty, suffering, and 
apparent hopelessness which marked one of the most re- 
markable political outbursts of history. 





















ARMY 258 















TOWN 404 

List of Illustrations and Maps 




From an original engraving in the possession of the Burnham 
Antique Book Store of Boston. It will be noticed that the sol- 
diers are firing with their heads up and apparently without 
aiming, which, according to Graydon, was the British soldier's 
method of shooting. 

From the copy in the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. 


From the copy in the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. 

THE RlYER TO PHILADELPHIA ............. 110 

From the copy in the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. 

OF A LOYALIST IN AMERICA .............. 156 

From the copy in the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. 

OF A LOYALIST .................... 166 

From the copy in the Boston Public Library. 

HILL ......................... 228 





From the engraving in Jones's " History of New York during 
the Kevolutionary War." By the kindness of the editor, Mr. 
Edward Floyd de Lancey. 









From the copy in the Boston Public Library. 


From the painting in the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. 

From the copy in the Boston Public Library. 




GrRANADA BY DRENCH TROOPS ............. 370 

From the copy in the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. 


YORK ...................... 376 

Prom tlie copy in the Boston Public Library. 

DOMINICA BY FRENCH TROOPS ............. 386 

From the copy in the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. 

EUSTATIUS ....................... 408 

From the copy in the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. 

FROM CAMDEN TO TORKTOWN ............. 420 

The True History 

of the 

American Revolution 


THE great underlying conditions which brought about 
the Revolution were the presence of the French in Canada, 
and the extremely liberal governments, semi-independence, 
and disregard of laws and regulations which England, 
in the early days, was compelled to allow the colonies in 
America. The increasing power of France in the north 
compelled England to be liberal and even lax in govern- 
ing her colonies. As tho, attitude of France became more 
and more threatening down to the year 1763, England 
could take no severe or repressive measures with the 
Americans, who were growing up very much as they 

In our time colonies usually are regarded as places for 
the overflow of the mother country's excess of population. 
But down to the time of our Revolution England had no 
overflow of population. When England began to have 
colonies in America, about the year 1610, her population 
was only five million. At the time of our Revolution it 
was barely eight million, and large districts of country, 
especially in the northern part of England, were still 

2 17 


almost as primitive and uncultivated as the American 

Colonies were in early times regarded as places for 
obtaining gold ; silver, and furs ; and it was lioped that if 
people could be forced to go out to them they might be 
able to extend trade, furnish England raw material, and 
create a market for manufactured goods. The people who 
settled in America were either mere adventurous charac- 
ters, like the first "Virginia colonists, or Puritans, Quakers, 
and Roman Catholics driven out of England by the 
severities of royalists and churchmen, or they were royal- 
ists, like those of the second migration to Virginia, driven 
out of England when the Puritans under Cromwell got 
into power. 

"When persecution ceased there was no migration of any 
importance to the colonies. Migration to New England 
ceased after 1640; and in all the colonies the migration 
was comparatively small. The people increased in the 
natural way by births, and increased with remarkable 
rapidity. The two million, white colonists of 1776 were 
largely a native stock, whose ancestors had been on the 
soil for many generations ; and they had grown out of an 
original stock of immigrants which had not numbered 
ono hundred thousand.* This native and natural growth 
is worth remembering when we are seeking to explain the 
desire for independence. 

Alluring promises of gold and easy systems of govern- 
ment were the great persuasives to English colonization. 
The British government, only too glad to be rid of rebel- 
lious Puritans, Quakers, and Roman Catholics, willingly 
gave them liberal charters. This explains that freedom in 
many of the old charters which has surprised so many 

* F. B. Dexter, u Estimates of Population in the American. Colo- 
nies/' p. 29, published by the American Antiquarian Society. 


students of our colonial history. Some of these liberal 
instruments were granted by the Stuart kings, with the 
approval of their officials and courtiers, all of whom 
showed by almost every other act of their lives that they 
were the determined enemies of free parliaments and free 
representation of the people. 

Connecticut, for example, obtained in 1662 from Charles 
II. a charter which made the colony almost independent 
and to-day there is no colony of the British empire that 
has so much freedom as Connecticut and Ehode Island 
always had, or as Massachusetts had down to 1685. Con- 
necticut and Rhode Island elected their own legislatures 
and governors, and did not even have to send their laws to 
England for approval.* No modern British colony elects 
its own governor and, if it has a legislature elected by 
its people, the acts of that legislature can be vetoed by the 
home government. A community electing its own gov- 
ernor and enacting whatever laws it pleases is not a colony 
in the modern English meaning of the word. Connecticut 
and Rhode Island could not make treaties with foreign 
nations, but in other respects they were, as we would now 
say, semi-independent commonwealths under the protec- 
torate or suzerainty of England.f 

The obtaining of this extremely liberal Connecticut 
charter has sometimes been explained by suggesting that 
Winthrop, who went to England to procure it, had money 
to distribute among courtiers. A pretty story is also told 
of his having a ring which had been given to his father 

* The charters can be read in the collections of Poore or of Hazzard. 
See Palfrey, " New England, " vol. ii. pp. 540, 566. 

f Neither Connecticut nor Ehode Island changed its form of gov- 
ernment during the Kevolution. The Connecticut charter was found 
to be liberal enough to serve as the constitution of an American State ; 
and Connecticut lived under it until 1818. Rhode Island lived under 
her charter as a constitution until 1842. 


by Charles I. ; and this ring, when shown to Charles II., 
is supposed to have worked the miracle of the liberal 

But the liberality is more easily accounted for by the 
desire of the British government to encourage planting, as 
it was called, and get rid of rebellious and troublesome 
people. England had not then made up her mind exactly 
what she meant by a colony, except that she was anxious 
to have people go out and settle on the wild land in 
America which was hers by right of discovery. The year 
after the Connecticut charter was granted Rhode Island 
obtained a liberal charter, almost word for word the same 
as the charter of Connecticut ; and the agent in that case 
was the Rev. John Clark, a Baptist minister of the gospel, 
who had no money and no ancestral ring. 

Some thirty years before that time Massachusetts had 
obtained a liberal charter. It was possibly intended that 
the governing body under this charter should remain in 
England; but the Puritans who had obtained it moved 
the whole governing body out to Massachusetts, elected 
their own legislature and governor, and did not submit 
their laws to England for approval. They assumed sev- 
eral of the attributes of sovereignty. They coined their 
own money, and issued the famous pine-tree shilling. 
They established by law a form of religion, sometimes 
called Congregationalism, which was-; not recognized by 
the laws of England. They ceased to issue writs in the 
king's name. They dropped the English oath of alle- 
giance and adopted a new oath in which public officers and 
the people swore allegiance, not to England, but to Massa- 

They debated what allegiance they owed to England, 
and concluded that they were independent iu govern- 
ment, that no appeals could be taken to England, but 


that they were under an English protectorate. When 
some captains of vessels reminded them that no English 
flag was displayed in the colony, they debated whether the 
British flag should be allowed to fly on the fort at Castle 
Island, and concluded that it might be put there, as that 
particular fort was the king's property. But they had 
given so little attention to allegiance and the symbol of it 
that at the close of this debate no English flags could be 
found in Boston, and they had to borrow one from the 
captain of a ship.* 

Under the charter which allowed so much freedom 
Massachusetts existed from 1629 to 1685, when her disre- 
gard of British authority and the killing, whipping, and 
imprisoning of Quakers and Baptists had reached such a 
pass that the charter was annulled, and Massachusetts 
became a colony, with a governor appointed by the king, 
and controlled in a way which, after her previous freedom, 
was very galling. 

These instances show why New England was so hot for 
independence from 1764 to 1776. Yirginia was also ar- 
dent, and there, too, we find that an extremely liberal gov- 
ernment had been allowed to grow up. Virginia had, 
alone and single-handed, in 1676, rebelled against the 
whole authority of the British government, because she 
thought her privileges were being impaired. Such an out- 
break as this and a similar rebellion in Massachusetts in 
1690 warned England to be as gentle as possible with the 
colonies, while France was becoming more and more of a 
power on the north and west. 

The other colonies never had so much freedom. None 
of them elected their own governors ; they had not had 

* Winthrop's Journal, published as the "History of New Eng- 
land, vol. i. pp. 187, 188; vol. ii. pp. 279, 282 j Palfrey, "New 
England," vol. i, pp. 284, 375, 499, et passim. 


such a taste of independence as New England and Vir- 
ginia, which from the English point of view were regarded 
as the leaders in rebellion. But they had all had a certain 
measure of their own way of doing things, and had strug- 
gled to have more of their own way, and had found that 
England was compelled at times to yield to them. It is 
not necessary to describe the details of this struggle, its 
successes or failures. It is of more importance to describe 
a method of government which grew up in all the colonies 
that did not elect their own governors, a method which 
they regarded as the bulwark of their liberties, which in 
England was regarded as scandalous, and which had an 
important influence on the Revolution. 

It arose out of the system by which the people of the 
colony elected the legislature, and the crown, or a proprie- 
tor under the crown, as iu Pennsylvania and Maryland, 
appointed the governor. Under this system the legisla- 
ture voted the governor his salary out of taxes which all 
these colonial legislatures had the power of levying. The 
governor had the power of absolute veto on all acts of the 
legislature, and, as representing the crown, ho wanted 
certain laws passed to carry out the ideas or reforms of the 
home government 

The members of the legislature cared little or nothing 
for these reforms. As representing the people, they had 
their popular measures which they wished carried out. 
These measures the governor usually wanted to veto, 
either because he deemed them hostile to the interests of 
the crown, or because he wished to punish the legislature 
for failing to pass crown measures on which his reputation 
at home depended. 

The governor and the legislature being thus dependent 
on each other, the question of salary throw the balance of 
power into the hands of the legislature. They quickly 


learned the trick of withholding the governor's salary 
until he had assented to their measures. The system 
became practically one of bargain and sale, as Franklin 
called it. The people, through their legislators, bought 
from the governor, for cash, such laws as they needed. 
The petty squabbles with the governor, based on the 
detailed working of the system, were interminable in 
every colony where it prevailed. They fill the minute- 
books and records, making colonial history more tiresome 
than it might otherwise be, except in one instance, where 
Franklin, who often came in contact with the system, 
described it in his inimitable manner : 

" Hence arose the custom of presents twice a year to the governors, 
at the close of each session in which laws were passed, given at the 
time of passing ; they usually amounted to a thousand pounds per 
annum. But when the governors and assemhlies disagreed, so that 
laws were not passed, the presents were withheld. When a disposi- 
tion to agree ensued, there sometimes still remained some diffidence. 
The governors would not pass the laws that were wanted without 
"being sure of the money, even all that they called their arrears ; nor 
the assemhlies give the money without being sure of the laws. Thence 
the necessity of some private conference, in which mutual assurances 
of good faith might he received and given, that the transaction should 
go hand in hand. "What name the impartial reader will give to this 
kind of commerce I cannot say. . . . Time established the custom 
and made it seem honest ; so that our governors, even those of the 
most undoubted honor, have practised it. ... 

4 'When they came to resolve, on the report of the grand commit- 
tee, to give the money, they guarded their resolves vci*y cautiously, to 
wit : ' Resolved that on the passage of such bills as now lie before the 
governor (the naturalization bill and such other bills aa may be pre- 
sented to him during the sitting) there be paid him the sum of five 
hundred pounds. 7 . . . 

" Do not, my .courteous reader, take pet at our proprietary constitu- 
tion for these our bargain and sale proceedings in legislation. It is a 
happy country where justice and what was your own before can be 
had for ready money. It is another addition to the value of money, 
and, of course, another spur to industry. Every land is not so blessed, J 7 
Works, Bigelow edition, vol. iii. pp. 311-316. 


What was thought and said of this system depended 
entirely on one's point of view. Franklin ridiculed it 
when it worked against him. Afterwards, in the Revolu- 
tion, when he saw that colonial self-government depended 
upon it, he became, like Dickinson and other patriot 
leaders, a stanch upholder of it* In England it was 
regarded as corruption. There was plenty of corruption 
in England at that time ; but outside corruption always 
seems the more heinous ; and this particular corruption 
blocked and thwarted nearly all the plaus of the mother 
country to regulate her colonies. It was believed to have 
seriously interfered with the raising of supplies and aids 
for the war against the French and Indians. If anything 
of the sort existed in our time, if a territory of the United 
States, or an island like Porto Rico, were governed in that 
way, we would denounce it as most atrocious and absurd ; 
and in all probability put a stop to it very quickly. It 
was very natural that England, acting from her point of 
view, should start to abolish it as soon ay France was 
driven from the continent, and this attempt was one of the 
fundamental causes of the Revolution. 

The colonists who had become Americanized, tinged 
with the soil, differentiated from English influence, or, 
as Englishmen said, rebelliously inclined, were all enthusi- 
astic supporters of the bargain and sale system. They 
loved it and were ready to die for it, and resisted any 
change or reform in it. They would not hear of fixing 
regular salaries upon the governors, because they knew 
that the moment the governors ceased to be dependent on 
the legislatures for their salaries, the legislatures would be 
powerless to accomplish the popular will, and the colonies, 

* Franklin, "Works, Bigolow edition, vol. iv. pp. 407, 4M j vol. 
v. p. 465. Dickinson describes tho advantages of the system iu his 
"Letters from a Farmer, 7 ' letters ix., x., etc. 


except Connecticut and Khode Island, would fall com- 
pletely under control of Parliament and the king. Each 
legislature was called and adjourned by the governor; 
and he would hardly take the trouble to call it ? except to 
pass crown measures, unless he was dependent on it for his 

In every colony where this system prevailed there was a 
body of popular laws on the statute-book which, in the 
course of fifty or a hundred years, had been secured, one by 
one, by this bargaining with the governor. The people, who 
were patriotically inclined, loved these laws; and had 
enjoyed the contests for them. They had heard and read 
the details of these contests at the taverns and coffee- 
houses; the self-confident, haughty, or scolding messages 
of the governor, and the astute or sarcastic replies of the 
legislature ; and they fought the wordy battle over again 
with keen interest. So long as they controlled the gov- 
ernor's salary they felt themselves freemen ; once lose that 
control, and they were, as they expressed it, political slaves. 

The system extended to the judges, who, though ap- 
pointed by the crown or governor, were dependent for their 
salaries on the annual vote or whim of the legislature. In 
New York the judiciary was believed to be notoriously 
dependent. A chief justice, it was said, gave a decision 
against a member of the legislature, who promptly, in 
retaliation, had the judge's salary reduced fifty pounds. 
The local magistrates in New York were controlled by the 
assemblymen. Some of these magistrates could not write, 
and had to affix their marks to warrants. * 

The colonists insisted that they must retain control of 
the judges' salaries, because, if the crown both appointed 
the judges and paid them their salaries, the decisions would 

* "Documents relating to the Colonial History of New York," 
vol. vii. pp. 500, 705, 760, 774, 796, 797, 906, 979. 


all be crown decisions. They were willing to compromise, 
however, and fix permanent salaries on the judges if the 
home government would agree that the judges should be 
appointed for life and good behavior instead of holding 
office at the pleasure of the crown. This apparently rea- 
sonable suggestion the English government would not 
adopt* They seem to have feared that the judges ap- 
pointed by that tenure would gradually drift to the side of 
the colonists, and make regulation and administration more 
difficult than ever. It was already extremely difficult to 
get a jury to decide in favor of the crown. The control 
of the colonies seemed to be slipping away, and the ministry 
must retain as much of it as was possible* 

Those acts of Parliament by which the money raised 
from taxes on the colonies was not to be cast generally into 
the English exchequer, but to be used for "defraying 
the expenses of government and the administration of 
justice in the colonies," and therefore would bo all spent 
in the colonies, read innocently enough. What could be 
more fair and honorable towards you, Englishmen would 
say, than an act which takes no money out of your 
country ? It is the same money which you now raise by 
taxing yourselves ; it will be spent, in the same way as 
you apply it, to pay governors and judges, and on a fixed 
and regular system, 

But the " fixed and regular system" destroyed what the 
Americans considered their fundamental, constitutional 
principle, by which executive salaries must be within 
popular control. That principle was vitally necessary 
to all the colonies, except to Connecticut and Rhode 
Island. It would become vital to Connecticut and Rhode 
Island if they should lose the right to elect their own 
governors, as was not improbable when England began 

* Franklin, "Works, Bigolow edition, vol, v, pp. 408, 404. 


her remodelling after the expulsion of France from 

One effect of the system was to divide the upper classes 
of the colonists, and indeed all the people, into two 
parties, those who were interested in the governor and 
the executive officers, and those who were interested in 
the legislature. Around every governor appointed from 
England there grew up a little aristocracy of powerful 
families and individuals, with their patronage, influence, 
and branches extending down through all classes. The 
people of this party who had means and education con- 
sidered themselves the social superiors, because they were 
most closely connected with England and the king, who 
was the source of all rank and nobility. They con- 
sidered themselves the only American society that deserved 
recognition. Nearly all of them became loyalists in the 

Among the legislative pariy, as it may be called, there 
were individuals and families of as much means and as 
good education as any in the governor's or executive party. 
But they formed a set by themselves, and were sometimes 
hardly on speaking terms with the executive party. In 
some of the colonies the two parties were on friendly terms ; 
but in Pennsylvania, New York, and Massachusetts the 
contests and hatred between them were, at times, extremely 
bitter and violent. 

Prominent men whose names have become household 
words among us Hancock, Adams, and Warren, of 
Massachusetts, Schuyler, Hamilton, and Livingston, of 
New York, Eeed, Morris, Dickinson, and Mifflin, of Penn- 
sylvania, Paca and Chase, of Maryland, and Lee, Wash- 
ington, Bland, and Harrison, of Virginia were all of the 
Whig legislative set They were more or less distinctly 
separated from the high society that basked in the regal 


sunlight which, even when filtered through a colonial gov- 
ernor, was supposed to redeem America from vulgarity. 

Had the Revolution terminated differently, another class 
of names might be household words in America, Hunt, 
Galloway, Allen, and Hamilton, of Pennsylvania, De- 
Lancey, Van Schaack, and Jones, of New York, Leonard, 
Sewall, Curwen, and Oliver, of Massachusetts, names 
which once filled a large place in the public vision, but 
which now are meaningless to nearly every one. 

England's easy method of dealing with her colonies had 
certainly produced a confused and irregular state of affairs, 
which was worse than has yet been described. It is im- 
portant for us to remember many of the details of this 
condition, because they show the beginning of English 
dissatisfaction with the colonies and of the desire to have 
a sweeping remodelling as soon as Franco was out of the 

The colonies, in exercise of the extreme liberty that had 
been allowed them, had taken on themselves to create their 
own paper currency. In some of them, especially in Now 
England, the paper currency was very seriously depreciated. 
In Pennsylvania the currency never depreciated ; * but this 
did not help matters, because conservative people in Eng- 
land would regard it as merely a delusive encouragement 
of an evil system. 

This paper money the colonists considered absolutely 
necessary to supply the place of the gold and silver which 
were so rapidly drained from them into England to pay for 
the manufactured goods they bought. Tfyerc seems to be 
no doubt but that they were right in this, 'and so long as 
the issues of paper money were kept within safe bounds, 

* " Pennsylvania : Colony and Common wealth, pp. 72, 80, 87; 
Phillips, u Historical Sketches of Paper Currency in the American 


as in Pennsylvania, no harm resulted. But there were such 
disastrous results in other colonies that there was a great 
outcry in England. To many Englishmen this paper 
money seemed to be a mere dishonorable device to avoid 
paying the heavy debts which the colonists owed to the 
British merchants, who sold to them the axes with which 
they felled the forests, the ploughs with which they tilled 
the land, and the utensils in which they cooked their 

This opinion was strengthened when it was remembered 
that some British colonies had attempted to pass stay laws 
to prevent English merchants from collecting debts, and 
that this risk had to be removed by an act of Parliament 
in 1732, giving English merchants the same right to seize 
private property for debt in the colonies that they had in 
England.* Finally, in 1751, Parliament tried to remedy 
the paper money evil, and passed an act declaring the 
paper money of the New England colonies an illegal 
tender in payment of a debt. 

Good people in England and many members of Parlia- 
ment looked upon the whole revolutionary movement as 
merely an attempt of debt-ridden provincials to escape from 
their obligations^ A nation on a firm gold basis always 
despises a nation struggling with a depreciated currency. 
We ourselves have had this feeling towards the West 
Indian and South American republics. 

The people in England also heard a great deal about the 
convicts who had been transported to America, and that 
some of these convicts had been employed as school- 
teachers. Historical writers have given the number of 

* "The Interest of the Merchants and Manufacturers of Great 
Britain in the Present Contest with the Colonies," p. 38, London, 

f Franklin, Works, Bigelow edition, vol. v. p. 629. 


these convicts that were sent here at from ten thousand to 
twenty-five thousand, most of them going to Maryland 
and the Middle Colonies.* We may believe that this had 
no demoralizing effect upon us, and perhaps it had not ; 
but English people would naturally think that it had 
tinged our population, and they would exaggerate the evil 
effects, as we would ourselves if we should hear of twenty 
thousand convicts dumped into Japan or Cuba, or England 

In early colonial times piracy had been almost openly 
practised, and respectable people, even governors of colo- 
nies, were interested in its profits. The distinction between 
privateering, smuggling, piracy, and buccaneering was 
slight; the step from one to the other easy. The fasci- 
nating life of these brethren of the wave cannot be described 
here, except to say that piracy had been another item in 
the list of colonial offences. Protections to pirates were 
openly sold in New York, where the famous Captain Kidd 
lived, and handsome presents given to the governor and 
his daughters. It was a profitable occupation, and pursued 
as eagerly as modern stock jobbing and speculation. 
Charleston was equally deep in the business. Lord Bclla- 
mont was sent out to New York in 1695, as the result 
of what we would now call a reform movement. He 
reported " a most lycencious trade with pyratcs, Scotland 
and Curagoa." The people of New York, he said, "grew 
rich, but the customs, they decrease."f 

Piracy, however, had passed away, and it was only a 
recollection of disorder, part of the ancient training of the 

*Scharf, "History of Maryland, 3 ' vol. i. p. 371; Pennsylvania 
Magazine of History, vol. xii. p. 457. 

f t Men, Women, and Manners in Colonial Times, )T vol. ii. pp, 
274-285; Johnson, " History of the Pirate;" EHquwuoling, "Buc- 
caneers of America j" " Documents relating to tko Colonial History 
of New York," index vol., title, " Pirates.'' 


colonists in self-will and love of independence. With 
regard to the other offences, bargain and sale legislation, 
dependent judiciary, or the reforms and remedies of them, 
both the colonists and England were in a constrained 
position so long as France kept strengthening her power 
on the north and pushing round to the westward into the 
valleys of the Ohio and the Mississippi. 

Kalm, the Swedish botanist, who travelled in America 
in 1748, reported that the presence of the French in 
Canada was all that held the colonies in submission to 
England. He met both Americans and English who 
prophesied that the colonies would be absolutely indepen- 
dent within thirty or fifty years.* 

The more we consider the conditions at that time, the more 
it becomes evident that the English-speaking communities 
in America were not colonies in the modern acceptance of 
the term. England had never fully reduced them to pos- 
session, had never really established her sovereignty among 
them.f She had encouraged them in the beginning with 
liberal grants for the sake of persuading them to occupy 
the country, and after that she was unable to repress their 
steady and aggressive increase of privileges so long as 
France hung as a menace in the snow-bound north. The 
lucky colonists were ridden with a loose rein and given 
their heads until a large section of them began to believe 
that their heads were their own. 

* " Travels into North America," vol. i. p. 265. 

f Dean Tucker said that British sovereignty in the colonies was 
gone as soon as the French were removed, and that the Kevolution 
was a contest to recover it. " The True Interest of Great Britain set 
forth," p. 12, London, 1774j Oartwright's " American Independence 
the Interest and Glory of Great Britain," pp. 90, 91 j " The Constitu- 
tional Bight of the Legislature of Great Britain to tax the British 
Colonies," p. 8, London, 1768 ; " Letters of Jainos Murray, Loyalist," 
p. 154 j Franklin, Works, Bigelow edition, vol. iii. p. 144. 


The colonists, however, needed the assistance of Eng- 
land's army and navy to withstand France. They detested 
the thought of becoming colonies of the great celtic and 
Eoman Catholic power ; and they were willing to hold in 
check their desire for extreme privileges, or anything like 
independence, until France was removed from the con- 
tinent. Thus France occupied the peculiar position of 
encouraging our independent spirit and at the same time 
checking its extreme development. 

"When the great event of her removal was accomplished ; 
when the superb organizing genius of William Pitt had 
carried to a successful termination the long war lasting 
from 1654 to 1763, a totally new condition of affairs arose. 
Canada being conquered and England in possession of it, 
the colonies and England suddenly found themselves 
glaring at each other. Each began to pursue her real 
purpose more directly. England undertook to establish 
her sovereignty, abolish abuses, or, as she expressed it at 
that time, to remodel the colonies. The patriotic party 
among the colonists resisted the remodelling, sought to re- 
tain all their old privileges, and even to acquire new ones.* 

* The change in tho situation was quickly scon l>y the punplo of 
that time. 

" No sooner were tho French kites and tho Indian vulturos scared 
away than they (tho colonists) began to strut and to claim an inde- 
pendent property to the dunghill. Their fear and tludr natural 
affection forsook them at one and the same time." "Tho Justus and 
Necessity of taxing the American Colonies," p. 7, London, 17(Jf). 

'* Ever since tho reduction of Canada," wrote ono of tho ablest of 
the loyalist pamphleteers, " wo have been bloated with u vain opinion 
of our own importance." "A Friendly Addreaw to all Reasonable 
Americans," p. 25, New York, 1774. See, also, " Strictures upon tho 
Declaration of the Congress j" "Observations on tlm American 
Revolution, n published l>y order of Congress, 1770. This document 
argues that the colonies wore semi-indcpcmdont stutos undor a pro- 
tectorate from Q-reat Britain to save thorn from JbVaneo. 




ONE of the greatest irregularities in the colonies, the 
most conspicuous rejection of British authority, was pur- 
posely omitted from the previous chapter, because it 
deserves to he treated separately, and because it was the 
first irregularity which England attempted to remedy as 
soon as France was out of the way. 

There were a number of laws on the English statute- 
books known as the navigation laws and the laws of trade. 
They constituted a great protective system of penalties, 
tariffs, and duties, designed to build up the shipping, the 
trade, the commerce, and the manufacturing interests of 
Great Britain and the colonies. They were to protect the 
colonies from foreign traders and foreign interference, and 
to unite them closely with the mother-country in bonds of 
wealth and prosperity against all the rest of the world. 

In the commercial competition in which England was 
involved with Holland, France, and Spain it was thought 
important to prevent those nations from trading with the 
British colonies. If England permitted those nations to 
trade with her colonies, her reason for protecting and gov- 
erning them was defeated ; it would be hardly worth while 
to have colonies. 

Each nation at that time kept, or tried to keep, 
its colonial trade exclusively for itself. To accom- 
plish this for England was one of the objects of the 
trade and navigation laws. Another guiding principle 
that ran through them was, that the profits of trade 
should be shared between the colonies and the mother- 



country. The colonies must not monopolize any depart- 
ment of trade. Still another principle was that the colonies 
should confine themselves chiefly to the production of raw 
materials and buy their manufactured goods from England. 

"We find the beginning of these laws in the earliest 
period of the English colonies. The first important prod- 
uct from the colonies was tobacco from Virginia ; and the 
king, who could at that time, without the aid of Parliament, 
impose duties and taxes, put a heavy duty on this tobacco. 
The Virginians accordingly sent all their tobacco to Hol- 

This simple instance shows both the cause and the 
principle of all these navigation laws. If Holland, Eng- 
land's rival in commerce, was to reap all the advantage 
of Virginia's existence, of what value to England was 
Virginia ? So the king ordered that no tobacco or other 
product of the colonies should be carried to a foreign port 
until it had been first landed in England and the duties 

This regulation was not merely for the revenue from 
the duties, but for the advantage of English tobacco 
merchants, and to prevent Holland trading with Virginia 
and establishing a connection there. Soon afterwards, in 
1651, Cromwell's Parliament took the next step, and an 
obvious one, by prohibiting the ships of all foreign nations 
from trading with the colonies. This was part of Crom- 
well's vigorous and successful foreign policy, one of the 
methods he employed for building up the power of Eng- 
land. It was intended to keep for England all her colonial 
trade and encourage her ship-builders, ship-owners, mer- 
chants, and manufacturers by the same method other na- 
tions pursued. 

Cromwell was of the same dissenting religion as a great 
many of the American colonists. He favored the colonists, 


and was generally regarded by them as a great prototype 
of liberty. But his Parliament passed the first navigation 
law ; and the colonists were often reminded of this when, 
during the Revolution, some of them argued so strenuously 
and violently against those laws. 

In 1660, when the commonwealth period of Cromwell 
closed and monarchy was restored in England, the famous 
navigation act was passed, carrying the protective system 
still farther : 

1. No goods were to be carried from the colonies except 
in English- or colonial-built ships of which the master and 
three-fourths of the sailors were English subjects. 

2. Foreigners could not be merchants or factors in the 

3. No goods of the growth, production, or manufacture 
of Africa, Asia, or America could be carried to England in 
any but English or colonial ships. And such goods must 
be brought direct from the places where they were usually 

4. Oil, whale-fins, fish, etc., usually produced or caught 
by English subjects, must, when brought into England by 
foreigners, pay double alien customs. 

5. The English coasting trade was confined exclusively 
to English ships. 

The colonists never objected to these provisions, because 
most of them favored the colonists as much as they favored 
England. They built up and encouraged colonial shipping. 
The provisions relating to the coasting trade we ourselves 
adopted as soon as we became a nation ; and we still con- 
fine our coasting trade to our own vessels. We also, in 
1816 and afterwards, passed navigation acts somewhat 
similar in their provisions to these clauses of the English 
act which Jhave been cited. There is no question that these 
and similar protective provisions assisted in building up 


country. The colonies must not monopolize any depart- 
ment of trade. Still another principle was that the colonies 
should confine themselves chiefly to the production of raw 
materials and buy their manufactured goods from England. 

We find the beginning of these laws in the earliest 
period of the English colonies. The first important prod- 
uct from the colonies was tobacco from "Virginia ; and the 
king, who could at that time, without the aid of Parliament, 
impose duties and taxes, put a heavy duty on this tobacco. 
The Virginians accordingly sent all their tobacco to Hol- 

This simple instance shows both the cause and the 
principle of all these navigation laws. If Holland, Eng- 
land's rival in commerce, was to reap all the advantage 
of Virginia's existence, of what value to England was 
Virginia ? So the king ordered that no tobacco or other 
product of the colonies should be carried to a foreign port 
until it had been first landed in England and the duties 

This regulation was not merely for the revenue from 
the duties, but for the advantage of English tobacco 
merchants, and to prevent Holland trading with Virginia 
and establishing a connection there. Soon afterwards, in 
1651, Cromwell's Parliament took the next step, and an 
obvious one, by prohibiting the ships of all foreign nations 
from trading with the colonies. This was part of Crom- 
well's vigorous and successful foreign policy, one of the 
methods he employed for building up the power of Eng- 
land. It was intended to keep for England all her colonial 
trade and encourage her ship-builders, ship-owners, mer- 
chants, and manufacturers by the same method other na- 
tions pursued. 

Cromwell was of the same dissenting religion as a great 
many of the American colonists. He favored the colonists, 


and was generally regarded by them as a great prototype 
of liberty. But his Parliament passed the first navigation 
law ; and the colonists were often reminded of this when^ 
during the Revolution, some of them argued so strenuously 
and violently against those laws. 

In 1660, when the commonwealth period of Cromwell 
closed and monarchy was restored in England, the famous 
navigation act was passed, carrying the protective system 
still farther : 

1. No goods were to be carried from the colonies except 
in English- or colonial-built ships of which the master and 
three-fourths of the sailors were English subjects. 

2. Foreigners could not be merchants or factors in the 

3. No goods of the growth, production, or manufacture 
of Africa, Asia, or America could be carried to England in 
any but English or colonial ships. And such goods must 
be brought direct from the places where they were usually 

4. Oil, whale-fins, fish, etc., usually produced or caught 
by English subjects, must, when brought into England by 
foreigners, pay double alien customs. 

5. The English coasting trade was confined exclusively 
to English ships. 

The colonists never objected to these provisions, because 
most of them favored the colonists as much as they favored 
England. They built up and encouraged colonial shipping. 
The provisions relating to the coasting trade we ourselves 
adopted as soon as we became a nation ; and we still con- 
fine our coasting trade to our own vessels. We also, in 
1816 and afterwards, passed navigation acts somewhat 
similar in their provisions to these clauses of the English 
act which Jiave been cited. There is no question that these 
and similar protective provisions assisted in building up 


the greatness, and power of England and the prosperity of 
the colonies. 

But there was a clause in the navigation act of 1660 
which did not please the colonists. It provided that no 
sugar, tobacco, cotton, indigo, ginger, fustic, or other dye- 
wood should be carried from the colonies to any port on 
the continent of Europe. Such commodities must be 
carried only to England or to English, colonies. The 
reason for this provision was, that if the colonists sold their 
commodities on the continent of Europe they would reap 
all the profits of the sale and the mother- country would 
get nothing. It seemed fairer that these articles should 
be taken to England and sold to English merchants, who 
might then resell at a profit to continental merchants. 
Thus the profits would be shared by the mother-country 
and the colonies, instead of the colonies getting them 

These colonial commodities which could not be carried 
to continental Europe became known in history as the 
enumerated articles.* Judged from the point of view of 
the times, there was nothing harsh or tyrannical in this 
provision. But the colonists, having ships of their own, 
very naturally wanted to trade directly with the continent 
of Europe. They wanted all the profits for themselves. 
They wanted full control of all the natural advantages of 
the separate country in which they lived, and in this respect 
they were not unlike the rest of the world. 

Accordingly this regulation about trading with the 
continent of Europe was disobeyed, or, if conformed to 
at all, it was to such a slight extent that it was practically 
a dead letter. The colonists repealed it as though they 

* In 1704 molasses and the rice of South Carolina were added to the 
enumerated articles. In 1730 rice was allowed to be carried to Euro- 
pean ports south of Cape Pinisterre. 


had had a parliament of their own for the purpose; 
and while France held Canada they could do so with 

In 1663 another act was 'passed, to parts of which the 
colonists had no objection. They certainly approved of 
that clause which prohibited tobacco-planting in England, 
and complained that the weed was still cultivated there in 
spite of a previous act prohibiting its culture. The object 
of this act was to favor the Virginia and Maryland to- 
bacco-planters. In consideration for sending all their 
tobacco to England they were to have the exclusive mo- 
nopoly of tobacco-planting. The great object of the trade 
laws was to bind together by reciprocal favors the colonies 
and the mother-country as a unit against all of England's 

But one of the clauses of the act of 1663 forbade any 
commodities of Europe to be taken to the colonies except in 
English-builfc ships and from English ports.* This was 
to compel the colonies to buy their manufactured goods 
and articles of luxury from England. Why should the 
colonists enrich the merchants of Prance, Holland, and 
Spain ? Why not enrich the merchants of England ? 

This regulation displeased the colonists, and they dis- 
obeyed it. They wilfully and wickedly carried the enu- 
merated articles to Europe, and on the return voyage they 
brought back European products in their own ships and 
without obtaining them at English ports or from Eng- 
lish merchants. Many a cargo of manufactured articles 
from France or Holland, and of wine, oil, and fruit from 
Portugal, and many a cargo of the famous cheap Hol- 
land tea, snugly packed in molasses hogsheads, did our 

* The act allowed certain exceptions, salt for the New England 
fisheries, wine from Madeira and the Azores, servants and horses from 
Scotland and Ireland. 


vessels " run/' as it was called, to the American coast, to the 
great damage and underselling of British merchants, and 
to the great profit of the natural enemies of Great Britain 
in Prance, Spain, and Holland. 

If we could raise from the mud, into which she finally 
sank, any one of our ancestors' curiously rigged ships, 
with her high-turreted stern, her queer little mast out on 
the bowsprit, her lateen sail, and all the contrivances 
which made her only a slight advance on the old " May- 
flower," which brought such vast cargoes of ancestors and 
old china to Massachusetts, we would be tolerably safe 
in labelling her "Smuggler." Most of our ships were 
engaged in that profitable business. 

The desire to share profits with " dear old England" 
was not very ardent. In 1676 Edward Eandolph was 
sent out to Massachusetts as an agent to look into its con- 
dition. He reported the navigation laws unexecuted and 
smuggling so* universal that commerce was free ; and the 
governor of Massachusetts, he said, "would make the 
world believe they were a free state." 

He returned in 1680 as collector of customs, and tried 
to enforce the navigation laws. The notice of his appoint- 
ment was torn down, and the assembly created a custom- 
office of its own, so as to supersede him and administer 
the navigation laws in the Massachusetts manner. When 
he attempted to seize vessels he was overwhelmed with 
law-suits. The people were against him, and he returned 
to England disgusted.* 

* Palfrey, " ISTew England," vol. iii. pp. 284-375 j Randolph's 
Report, Hutchinson Papers, published by Princo Society, vol. ii. j 
Andros Tracts, vol. iii.; Lossing, "Cyclopaedia of United States His- 
tory," pp. 957, 1182. 

There was an act of 1696 requiring the trade between England and 
the colonies to be carried in English- or colonial-built ships j but to 
this the colonists of course had no objection. 


In 1733 another trade act was passed, which levied 
duties on spirits, sugar, and molasses imported to the colo- 
nies from any of the French or Spanish West Indies. 
This, as the preamble of the act explained, was to protect 
the English sugar islands from competition with the 
French and Spanish sugar islands, as well as to give the 
mother-country a share in this trade. But the colonists 
found the trade so profitable that they preferred to have 
it for themselves without any tax or duties. They carried 
many of their products to the French and Spanish islands, 
making a good exchange for the spirits and sugar, and 
bringing back gold and silver money which they needed 
in buying supplies from England and in decreasing the 
amount of paper money they were obliged to issue. The 
act of 1733, levying duties on this trade, was a subject of 
much discussion during the early stages of the Revolution, 
and was usually spoken of as the " old molasses act," to 
distinguish it from a sort of supplement to it passed in 
1764, called the C( sugar act." Our people made a dead 
letter of it, as they did of all the others that interfered 
with their purposes. 

It is hardly worth while to discuss what has sometimes 
been called the excessive restraint or tyranny of these trade 
laws, because the American colonists promptly disposed of 
any element of severity there was in them, by disobeying 
them. These laws were generally regarded by Adam 
Smith, and other political writers as much less restrictive 
than similar laws of other countries.* The trade of all the 
Spanish colonies was confined by law to Spain ; the trade 
of the Brazils to Portugal ; the trade of Martinico and 
other French colonies to France ; the trade of Curapoa and 
Surinam to Holland. There was only one exception, and 

* See, also, "The Interests of the Merchants and Manufacturers of 
Great Britain in the Present Contest," London, 1774. 


that was in the trade of St. Eustatius, which Holland 
allowed to be free to all the world ; and through that island 
a large part of the American smuggling was conducted. 

This system, long since outworn and abandoned, was 
generally believed to be particularly fair and liberal, 
because it was mutual; because, while the colonies 
were compelled to trade exclusively with the mother- 
country, the mother-country, besides protecting them 
with her army and fleet, was compelled to trade with 
the colonies. The British merchants were as closely bound 
to buy their raw material only from the colonies as the 
colonies were bound to buy manufactured goods only from 
the British merchants. The people of Great Britain, as 
we have seen, were not allowed to raise tobacco or buy it 
anywhere except in Maryland and Virginia. 

The colonists were paid bounties on all the naval stores, 
hemp, flax, and lumber, which they produced; and the 
large sums thus paid to them were considered as fully off- 
setting any inconveniences they might suffer from restric- 
tions on their trade. South Carolina had a bounty on 
indigo, and could carry her rice to all European ports 
south of Cape ITinisterre. The laws which prohibited 
the colonies from importing directly from Europe were 
mitigated by a system of drawbacks on the duties. Their 
great staples of grain, lumber, salt provisions, fish, sugar, 
and rum they were allowed to carry to any part of the 
world, provided they took them in their own or in British- 
built ships of which the owners and three-fourths of the 
crew were British subjects. The British West India colo- 
nies were compelled to buy their provisions and lumber 
from the American continental colonies. That colonies 
which had cost such a vast and long-continued expendi- 
ture of blood and treasure should be closely bound to the 
mother-country in trade, should take part in a system 


which would at the same time enrich the mother-country 
and themselves, seemed to most Europeans natural and 

The Americans were prohibited from manufacturing. 
They could mine ore and turn it into iron ; but they were 
not allowed to manufacture the iron into steel, tools, or 
weapons. They were prohibited also from cloth manu- 
facturing and similar industries. But they paid little or 
no attention to these laws. They were not very strongly 
drawn to domestic manufacturing at that time, because they 
saw their greatest field of profit on the ocean, in trade, in 
whaling, and in the fisheries of the Grand Banks. But to 
such moderate manufacturing as their hearts inclined they 
turned openly and without even a wink at the royal gov- 

In theory and by law a colony must share with Eng- 
land the profits its own ships might earn ; it was prohib- 
ited from making nails, hatchets, and guns out of the iron 
dug from its own soil, or making coats out of the wool of 
its own sheep, or hats from the fur of the beaver that lived 
on its streams ; a colonist could not give an orange to his 
sick friend unless that orange had made the voyage from 
Portugal by touching at an English port and passing 
through the hands of an English merchant. But none of 
these regulations could be enforced ; or at best were only 
partially enforced. If England had had sufficient author- 
ity and power to enforce them from the beginning, we 
might have been a milder people, like the Canadians, with 
no revolution, with less inventive genius, and without our 
self-reliant, aggressive, or, as some would call them, dis- 
orderly qualities. 

* "The Interests of the Merchants and Manufacturers of Great 
Britain in the Present Contest," p. 22, et seq., London, 1774 j Penn- 
sylvania Magazine of History, vol. vii. p. 197. 


The smuggling we indulged in so universally was not a 
daring occupation. A vessel would enter her cargo as salt 
or ballast ; or would pay duty on part, give hush money or 
some goods to the customs officials, and " run" the rest ; * 
and the officials seem to have been easy to deal with in 
this way. They no doubt felt that their wages were so 
low that they would starve to death if not assisted by kind 
captains and merchants. Their presents were not always 
money. They were given parts of the cargo ; often choice 
boxes of wines and fruits from Spain and the Mediterra- 
nean, so beautiful and luscious that it seemed impossible 
they could contaminate. 

The moral aspect of the situation was not allowed to 
pass unchallenged. We find a pamphlet f written, as is 
supposed, by John Drinker, of Philadelphia, implying 
that nearly all merchants were habitual custom-house per- 
jurers, or procured others to commit perjury, and that such 
a system was ruining the morals of the country. In our 
time a reform club would have been organized to deal with 
the question. 

In spite of the long series of trade and navigation laws, 
filling so many pages of her statute-books, the revenue re- 
ceived from us by England was only 1000 or 2000 per 
year and it cost 7000 or 8000 to collect it. In the 
French War it was discovered that the New England mer- 
chants were regularly supplying the French fleets and 
garrisons with provisions under flags of truce to exchange 

* Hutchinson's letter to Richard Jackson, September, 1763 ; Ryer- 
son's ''Loyalists," vol. i. p. 276; Board of Trade Papers, Pennsyl- 
vania Historical Society, vol. ii. B. 34, 619 j Rhode Island Colonial 
Records, vol. vi. 428-430; " Letters to the Ministry and Memorials to 
the Lords of the Treasury from Commissioners of Customs, " pp. 115- 

t " Observations on the Late Popular Measures, 77 Philadelphia, 


prisoners. In the hope of preventing such scandals, and 
of repressing smuggling, the practice of issuing writs of 
assistance, as they were called, was adopted by the British 
officials in America. These writs empowered an officer to 
search generally for smuggled goods, without specifying 
under oath a particular house or particular goods. Such 
writs were allowable under English law, but contrary to 
the principle adopted by Americans that general writs 
authorizing an officer to go into any house he pleased 
should never be issued. A test case was made of them in 
Massachusetts, and James Otis delivered against them a 
most famous argument, which in a rhetorical and exagger- 
ated sense was described by John Adams as the birth of 
the American Revolution. 

The colonies did pretty much as they pleased for over a 
hundred years. Their ships sailed in every sea, making 
of the colonists daring, hardy sailors, and giving them a 
contempt for the acts of Parliament which they had vio- 
lated for generations. They were men who won careers 
from rugged nature, who therefore believed in themselves ; 
who were conceited, pushing, lanky, gaunt, unpleasant, 
and ludicrous in English eyes ; but the same men whom 
the eloquent Irishman, Burke, delighted to describe, as 
pursuing the whales among the tumbling mountains of 
Arctic ice, or following the same dangerous game beneath 
the frozen serpent of the south. 

What else had the colonists but their ships and their 
farms ? Those were their two principal occupations. They 
ploughed either the sea or the land ; and are not those the 
rough pursuits of angular, independent, vigorous, self- 
willed men, dexterous with tools and weapons, but very 
awkward in manners. 

Viewed from this stand-point, and setting aside for the 
moment that part of the population which was aristocratic, 


loyal, or lived on government salaries, the colonies were 
merely a long straggling line of settlements, scarcely two 
hundred miles wide, containing about two million white 
men and eight hundred thousand slaves, extending along 
the sea-coast from Maine to Georgia, fishermen, farmers, 
sailors, and traders. Their ships seemed everything to 
them, because their ships seemed to give a large part of the 
value to their farms. 

When, therefore, the British government, after the 
French War was over, resolved on more regular and sys- 
tematic control, when revenue-cutters became more numer- 
ous, when the customs officials were stiffened for their duty 
and struck at what the colonists called " free trade," and 
what in England was called the infamous crime of 
smuggling, it seemed to many of the colonists a terrible 

The blow that irritated them most of all was struck at 
their trade with the French and Spanish West Indies, the 
trade which, as we have seen, had been prohibited by the 
" old molasses act" of 1734. They had evaded it for thirty 
years. But now in this famous year 1764, with France 
out of the way, and the reorganization of the colonies 
resolved upon, instructions were sent to men-of-war and 
revenue-cutters to enforce the laws against the Spanish 
and French trade, and a new navigation act was passed 
which the colonists usually spoke of as the "sugar 

It reduced by one-half the duties which had been im- 
posed on sugar and molasses by the " old molasses act" of 
1734. This reduction, like so many other parts of the 
system, was intended as a favor to the colonists and a com- 
pensation for restrictions in other matters. But as the 
colonists, by wholesale smuggling, had been bringing in 
sugar and molasses free, they did not appreciate this favor 


of half-duties which were to be actually enforced. The 
act also imposed duties on coffee, pimento, French and 
East India goods, and wines from Madeira and the Azores 
which hitherto had been free. It also added iron and 
lumber to the "enumerated articles" which could be 
exported only to England ; and it reinforced the powers 
of the admiralty courts which could try the smuggling 
and law-breaking colonists without a jury. 

This "sugar act" of 1764 required the duties to be paid 
in specie into the treasury in London ; and this the colonial 
merchants bitterly complained of, because it would drain 
them of specie and force them to paper money acts to 
supply a currency in place of the specie ; and at the same 
time Parliament passed another act to further restrain the 
paper currency of the colonies. England was evidently 
very much in earnest. 

From the English point of view the " old molasses act" 
and the " sugar act" were necessary to protect the English 
sugar islands from French and Spanish competition ; were, 
in fact, part of the great system of protection for all parts 
of the empire; the system of give and take, by which 
inconveniences suffered by one locality for the sake of 
another were compensated by bounties or special privileges 
in some other department of trade. 

The attempt to enforce the " sugar act" and the old trade 
laws aroused much indignation among a large number of 
the colonists. Loyalists afterwards said that the indigna- 
tion was confined to the smuggling merchants and some 
radical and rabid dissenters. The indignant ones, however, 
made themselves very conspicuous, for they combined to 
protect and conceal smuggling, and at times they broke 
out into mob violence and outrage which made English- 
men stare. When the officials occasionally succeeded in 
seizing a smuggled cargo it was apt to be rescued by 


violence which was actual warfare, but into which the 
perpetrators entered not only without hesitation, but 
with zeal, energy, and righteous indignation, as if they 
were performing a public duty and a perfectly lawful 

The English regarded these proceedings as a riotous and 
unlawful rebellion against legitimate authority. The colo- 
nists were being driven crazy, it was reported, by certain 
books about the rights of man, books written by men 
called Burlamaqui, Beccaria, Montesquieu, Grotius, and 
Puffendorf, which told them that all men were politically 
equal and entitled to self-government ; and the English- 
man, John Locke, who was exiled and driven from 
Great Britain, had written a mad book to the same 

The customs regulations became more elaborate. A 
board of commissioners of customs was created in 1767, 
for enforcing the revenue laws and the laws of trade and 
navigation, and instituting a general reform in America. 
In the fleet on the American coast, each captain had to 
take the custom-house oaths, and be commissioned as a 
custom-house official to assist in the good work. The 
admiral of the fleet became, in effect, the head of a corps 
of revenue officers ; and, to stimulate the zeal of his officers, 
they were to receive large rewards from all forfeited prop- 
erty. Some of the captains even went so far as to buy on 
their own account small vessels, which they sent, disguised 
as coasters, into the bays and shoal waters to collect evidence 
and make seizures.* 

But a people who had been left so long to themselves 
were not easy to bring under the discipline of a more 
methodical government. The new commissioners of cus- 

* "Observations on the Several Acts of Parliament, etc., )J p. 17, 
Boston, 1769, 


toms sent out more than twenty fresh, cutters and armed 
vessels to cruise for smugglers. But they rarely made a 
seizure; and the colonists laughed in their bucolic way, 
and said that it was like burning a barn to roast an 

It had been the practice in America ever since 1670 to 
try all smuggling and revenue cases in the admiralty 
courts, which acted without a jury, because it was found 
that no American jury would convict a smuggler. The 
acts which were now passed to improve administra- 
tion in the colonies, and even the Stamp Act, provided 
that their provisions should be enforced in admiralty. 
"Vice-admiralty courts were established and various regu- 
lations were made to increase their efficiency and encourage 
the j udges. This seemed entirely j ustifiable to thie ministry, 
because penalties under the revenue laws had long been 
recoverable in admiralty, and in England stamp duties 
were recoverable before two justices of the peace without 
a jury.f 

To many of the colonists it seemed as if these courts 
without juries would soon extend their power from their 
proper sphere of the seaports into the " body of the coun- 
try," as it was called. They raised the alarm that Britain 
was depriving her colonies of the right of trial by jury ; 
that she intended to cut off trial by jury more and more ; 
and in the Declaration of Independence this is enumerated 
as one of the reasons for breaking up the empire. 

It is interesting to remember in this connection that 
by act of Parliament the British government can at any 

* Jared Ingersoll, " Letters Relating to the Stamp Act," 3STew 
Haven, 1766. 

f Tucker, "True Interest of Great Britain set forth," London, 
1774 j " Correct Copies of Two Protests against the Bill to Repeal the 
American Stamp Act," p. 17, London, 17GG j "The Conduct of the 
Late Administration," etc., pp. 12, 13, London, 1767. 


time withdraw trial by jury from Ireland, and in the 
year 1902 withdrew it by proclamation in nine Irish 
counties. Great Britain began the conquest and pacifica- 
tion of Ireland seven hundred years ago, but the Irish 
are not yet submissive and British sovereignty is not yet 

The colonists also complained because the officers of the 
admiralty courts were paid out of the proceeds of fines, 
of which the informers got half. In some instances the 
governors of provinces were rewarded out of the fines and 
forfeitures, for the sake of encouraging them to greater 
diligence in executing the laws. 

To Englishmen who reflected on the smuggling and 
piracy, the thousands of convicts transported to the colo- 
nies, the thousands of fierce red Indians by whom the 
colonists must be influenced, and the million black slaves 
driven with whips, the withholding from such people of 
the right of trial by jury, or even of the right of self- 
government, seemed a small matter. 

At the close of that famous year 1764 the ministry and 
Parliament were inclined to congratulate themselves on 
having done a good deal towards remedying the disorders 
in America, At the opening of the next session of Par- 
liament, in 1765, the king reminded them that the colonial 
question was simply " obedience to the laws and respect 
for the legislative authority of the kingdom," and Par- 
liament, in reply, declared that they intended to proceed 
" with that temper and firmness which will best conciliate 
and insure due submission to the laws and reverence for 
the legislative authority of Great Britain." 

We find the pamphleteers in England recommending 
stronger measures. These rascals, they said, will forever 
smuggle and complain, complain and smuggle, and call 
every restraint a badge of slavery. Their long stretch of 


fifteen hundred miles of sea-coast need be no protection to 
them. The two thousand miles of sea-coast of Great 
Britain and Ireland does not prevent unlawful traders 
from meeting with the punishment they deserve. There- 
fore double the number of custom-houses and of sloops of 
war, and pursue every vigorous measure to compel these 
lawless Americans to learn that while they live in society 
they must submit to law. 

The new Board of Commissioners of Customs had 
made its head-quarters in Boston, a significant event, fol- 
lowed by a long train of the most important historical 
circumstances. Boston seemed to be the worst place in 
America. It had always been so. It needed curbing. 
Massachusetts was the only colony which had persistently, 
from her foundation, shown a disloyal spirit to the English 
government and the English church. Her people seemed 
to be naturally riotous. 

When the sloop " Liberty" was seized for violating the 
laws of trade the patriot party of Boston rescued her 
smuggled cargo and smashed the windows of the houses 
in which lived the collector, comptroller, and inspector of 
customs, and these unfortunate gentlemen narrowly es- 
caped with their lives. The mob dragged the collector's 
boat through the town and burnt it on the common. The 
customs officials had to take refuge on the British man-of- 
war " Romney." 

The proceedings to stop smuggling were carried on from 
1764 for a period of eight or ten years, and were contem- 
poraneous with other events relating to the Stamp Act and 
other taxing laws which are more conspicuous in our his- 
tories. It is somewhat difficult to tell how far the repres- 
sion of smuggling was successful, because the colonists 
laughed at the revenue cutters and men-of-war as failures, 
and at the same time complained that they were being 


ruined by the stoppage of their old " free trade." It seems 
to be true that the naval and customs officers made very 
few seizures ; but at the same time the fear of seizure and 
the presence of the men-of-war may at first have stopped 
a great deal of the smuggling. The island of Jamaica 
complained of much loss. Exactly what were the losses 
among ourselves cannot now be known. 

It seems that the smuggling soon got under way again, 
and was as bad as ever. Our people also formed associa- 
tions pledging the members to cease importing manufac- 
tured goods from England, to cease wearing English 
clothing, and to violate the act against manufacturing by 
at once starting manufacturing of all kinds among them- 
selves. Every one appeared in homespun. The prompt- 
ness with which all this was done is striking. One might 
suppose that England was already a foreign country. Be- 
fore that year 1764 was closed the consumption of British 
merchandise had diminished by thousands of pounds. 

When the year 1774 was reached the mobs and tar-and- 
feather parties had driven so many British officials from 
office that all attempts to check smuggling and enforce the 
trade laws were necessarily abandoned until the army 
could restore authority. Those old laws can still be read 
in their places in the English Statutes at Large ; and, in 
truth, those clauses of them which the colonists disliked 
were from the beginning almost as dead as they are now. 




AT the same time that the British government started to 
put down smuggling in 1764 it also prepared a new sys- 
tem of taxation for the colonies as part of the remodelling 
which seemed to be necessary. In fact, the " sugar act/' 
passed on March 10 of that year, was a taxing act, and 
declared in its preamble that it was intended to raise a 
revenue from the colonies to defray the expenses of pro- 
tecting and governing them. 

This taxation of the colonies was not a new idea. They 
had always been taxed, especially during the wars with 
Prance. There was a regular system by which the British 
Secretary of State made a requisition on the colonies 
through the colonial governors, stating the quota of money 
or supplies required from each. Each colonial assembly 
thereupon began a long wrangle with its governor, and 
usually ended by voting the supply or part of it, which 
was collected from the people by taxation. 

It was a voluntary system, for sometimes a colony 
would grant no supply at all. It was, in short, the old 
feudal aid system, the system in which all taxation in 
England had originated. Taxation was originally not 
a self-acting system of compulsion. Taxes were gifts, 
grants, or aids, which the people, or their feudal lords, or 
Parliament as representing the people, granted to the king 
at irregular intervals to assist the government in wars or 
other undertakings ; or, as Mr. Stubbs puts it, " the tax;- 


payers made a voluntary offering to relieve the wants of 
the ruler." * 

This voluntary system had long since ceased in England, 
and the modern, annual, self-acting system prevailed both 
there and also in the local taxation of the colonies. The 
taxation proposed in 1764 was taxation by the modern 
system. It was not a new or sudden thought. It had 
been suggested in 1713 when Harley was at the head of 
the treasury, and again at the opening of the Seven 
Years' War. It had also been advocated in the early 
part of the century by Governor Keith, of Pennsylvania, 
who was also one of those who foresaw the leaning of 
some of the colonists towards independence, and thought 
that such a spirit should be nipped in the bud. Colonial 
taxation had for a long time been an obvious measure, and 
might have been tried much sooner if France had not been 
in Canada. 

Looked at in the light of all the circumstances it was not 
necessarily an evil or tyrannical measure. If we once 
admit that the colonial status is not an improper one, and 
that it is no infringement of natural or political rights for 
a nation to have dependencies or subject peoples, taxing 
them in a moderate and fair way seems to follow as a 
matter of course. England still levies indirect taxes on 
India and the crown colonies, and occasionally a charge 
similar to a direct tax, as in the case of colonial lighthouses.f 

England was generally believed to be bankrupt, groan- 
ing under the vast debt of over 148,000,000, which had 
been heaped up by the war she had just waged to save the 
colonies from the clutches of France. It was a heavy debt 
for a country of barely eight million people. The colonies 

*" Constitutional History of England," edition of 1875, vol. i. p. 577. 
t Jenkyns, " British Rule and Jurisdiction beyond the Seas," 
pp. 10, 11. 


had no taxes, except the very light ones which they levied 
on themselves by their own legislative assemblies. But the 
people in England suffered under very heavy and burden- 
some taxes on all sorts of articles, including the wheels on 
their wagons, the panes of glass in their houses, and other 
things which involved prying and irritating investigations. 
All this was to help pay for that great war, and why 
should not the colonies be called upon for their share ? 
While the war was being carried on they had been taxed 
in the old way, and, on requisition from the home govern- 
ment, had voted in their legislative assemblies supplies of 
money, men, and provisions. Now that peace was 
declared, why should they not help to pay the war debt, 
by the modern, more orderly, and regular system ? 

The colonists were very much attached to the old volun- 
tary system. They took the greatest delight in it; for 
whenever a governor announced that he had been in- 
structed to obtain a certain quota, the legislature had a 
chance to worry him and strike a bargain for his consent 
to some of their favorite measures. But the delays caused 
by this wrangling were very exasperating to generals in 
the field during the French War, and also to the home 

Besides this uncertainty and delay, it seemed to English- 
men that the voluntary system was very unequal and 
unfair. Some colonies, like Pennsylvania and Massachu- 
setts, gave large supplies; and others, like New Jersey, 
Maryland, or Georgia, gave little or none at all, and this 
raised jealousies, bickerings, and quarrels. 

But the colonists, knowing that in the long run they 
always got the better of the governors, would not admit the 
validity of any such objections. When modern taxation 
was suggested, they would blandly inquire what could be 
better than the old voluntary system ? They would dilate 


on their loyalty and affection for the crown ; and the ideal 
beauty of those gifts to " dear mother England/' which 
they voluntarily and without even the suggestion of force 
had always out of the abundance of their overflowing 
devotion supplied. Did you not yourselves, they would 
say, think that in the last war we had been too complying 
and too generous in our devotion to the king, and did you 
not hand us back 133,333 6s. 8d., which you said we 
had paid over and above our share of the expense ? Let 
the king frankly tell us his necessities, and we will in the 
future, as in the past, of our own volition, assist him. 

That refunding of the 133,000 proved to be somewhat 
like the repealing of the stamp tax, a generosity of which 
the government afterwards repented. But it is easy to see 
how public men of both parties in England, accustomed to 
methodical methods and regular, orderly taxation, would 
naturally conclude that there should be a surer and more 
orderly way of raising money or supplies from the colonies. 
The refunding of the 133,000 was in their eyes an argu- 
ment against the old method, because the greater part of 
that sum had been returned only to Massachusetts and one 
or two other provinces which had given supplies in an ab- 
surd excess over all the others. It was ridiculous for a 
great nation to have to conduct its finances by this sort of 
refunding. It would be better to have a simple self-acting 
method like the stamp tax that would bear equally on all. 

Accordingly, on the 10th day of March, 1764, that 
famous year of colonial reorganization and reform, and the 
same day on which the <f sugar act" and the law for the 
further restraint of paper money in the colonies were passed, 
Mr. Grenville, Chancellor of the Exchequer, announced in 
Parliament the plan, of a stamp tax for the colonies. He 
introduced and secured the passage of some resolutions 
on the right, equity, and policy of colonial taxation which 


were intended to raise the whole question and have it dis- 
cussed for a year before any particular measure was 

The ministry went about this measure with that display 
of considerate care and tenderness which England has so 
often shown to dependencies, a tenderness very much ad- 
mired by some, but very exasperating to a people who are 
fond of freedom. Mr. Grenville not only wanted the sub- 
ject discussed for a year in England before final action was 
taken, but he wanted the colonists to discuss it and offer 
suggestions, or propose some better plan of taxation, or one 
that would be more agreeable to them. He was lavishly 
candid in saying that the " sugar act" just passed levied 
an external tax, the validity of which the colonists ad- 
mitted ; but the stamp tax might be an internal tax, the 
validity of which might be denied in America ; and he 
wished that question fully discussed. He was also exces- 
sively liberal in hinting to the colonial agents in London 
that now was the opportunity for the colonies, by volun- 
tarily agreeing to the stamp tax, or an equivalent, to estab- 
lish a precedent for being consulted before any tax was 
imposed upon them by Parliament. He afterwards made a 
great point of selecting as stamp officials in America only 
such persons as were natives of the country. 

The patriotic party in America was far too shrewd to 
accept the Stamp Act or offer an equivalent. They sent 
back some petitions and remonstrances against it, but for 
the most part were quite sullen. A year went by. The 
proposed tax was drafted into the form of a law, passed with 
scarcely any debate, and approved by the king, March 
22, 1765. 

It provided a stamp tax on newspapers and all legal 
and business documents, and was full of tiresome, wordy 
details. It was the sort of tax which we levied on 


ourselves during the Civil "War and again at the time of 
the war with Spain. It is unquestionably the fairest, most 
equally distributed, and easiest to collect of all forms of 
taxes. Scarcely any one in England seems to have had 
any doubt as to the right of Parliament to levy such a tax, 
an internal one, so-called, on the colonies. 

But the colonists who had defied navigation laws and 
ruled themselves almost independently for over a hundred 
years, could not accept such a tax. News of the passage 
of the act seems to have reached this country in May. 
Virginia immediately led the way in passing resolutions 
of protest, and it was in speaking on these resolutions that 
Patrick Henry made his famous treasonable speech, 
f ' Csesar had his Brutus, Charles I. his Cromwell, and 
George III. may profit by their example." 

The assemblies of the other colonies quickly followed 
with similar resolutions. These resolutions, taken as a 
whole, protest against the extension of the power of the 
admiralty courts as well as against the Stamp Act. They 
all argue the question somewhat ; and base themselves on 
the position that Parliament had never before taxed the 
colonies in internal matters, and that internal taxation was 
therefore the exclusive province of the colonial legislatures. 
They admit that Parliament can tax them externally, or, 
as they put it, regulate their commerce by levying duties 
on it, and regulate them, as in fact it always had done, in 
all internal matters, except this one of internal taxes. 

This position was very weak, because it admitted the 
right to regulate all their internal affairs except one ; and 
the distinction it raised between external and internal taxes 
was altogether absurd. There was no real or substantial 
difference between external and internal taxes; between 
taxes levied at a seaport and taxes levied throughout the 
country. The colonists afterwards saw this weakness and 


changed their ground. But this supposed distinction be- 
tween external and internal taxes was good enough to begin 
with ; and the Revolution, during the seventeen years of 
its active progress, was largely a question of the evolution 
of opinion. 

During that summer of 1765, while the assemblies of 
the different colonies were passing resolutions of protest, 
the mobs of the patriot party were protesting in another 
way. It certainly amazed Englishmen to read that the 
mob in Boston, not content with hanging in effigy the 
proposed stamp distributers, levelled the office of one of 
them to the ground and smashed the windows and fur- 
niture of his private house; that they destroyed the 
papers and records of the court of admiralty, sacked the 
house of the comptroller of customs, and drank themselves 
drunk with his wines; and, finally, actually proceeded 
to the house of Lieutenant-Governor Hutchinson, who 
was compelled to flee to save his life. They completely 
gutted his house, stamped upon the chairs and mahogany 
tables until they were wrecked, smashed the large, gilt- 
framed pictures, and tore up all the fruit-trees in his 
garden. Governor Hutchinson was a native of the prov- 
ince, was its historian, and with his library perished many 
invaluable historical manuscripts which he had been thirty 
years collecting. The mob cut open the beds and let the 
feathers out, which they scattered with his clothes, linen, 
smashed furniture, and pictures in the street.* 

That this outrage had been incited the day before by the 
preaching of the Eev. Dr. Mayhew, a Puritan divine, did 

* New England Historical and Genealogical Register, vol. xxxii. 
p. 268; Hutchinson, "Massachusetts," vol. iii. pp. 122-127; Massa- 
chusetts Archives, vol. xxvi. p. 143 ; Boston Q-azette, August 19, 
September 2, 1765; Hutchinson's Correspondence, vol. ii. p. 143; 
"Letters of James Murray, Loyalist,' 7 p. 258. 


not lessen its atrocity in the eyes of Englishmen. He had 
held forth on the text, " I would they were even cut off 
which trouble you ;" and the mob came very near obeying 
his instructions literally. A great many respectable citi- 
zens were shocked, or appeared to be shocked, at this vio- 
lence and excess. They held town meetings of abhorrence, 
a guard was organized to prevent such outrages in the 
future, and rewards were offered for rioters. But it is 
quite significant that, although the rioters were well 
known, as the historians assure us, no one was punished. 
Two or three were arrested, but were rescued by their 
friends, and it was found impossible to proceed against 

It is not necessary to describe in detail the action of 
mobs in the other colonies. They were somewhat less 
violent than in Massachusetts, and their proceedings were 
usually directed to compelling the stamp distributers to 
resign their office. Such successful, widespread, and thor- 
ough rioting we have scarcely ever seen in our time. 

It strengthened the very natural feeling in England that 
British sovereignty and order must at all hazards be es- 
tablished in America. On the side of the colonists it 
may be observed that this widespread rioting and its vio- 
lence disclose a strong party already far separated from 

In the autumn a respectable body of colonists met in 
New York to deal with the Stamp Act question. This 
meeting, which has ever since been known as the Stamp 
Act Congress, had been suggested by the Massachusetts 
Assembly. Neither Virginia, South Carolina, nor Georgia 
were represented in it, which may be incidentally noticed 
as tending to show that the rebel or patriot movement was 

* Elliott, "New England," yol. ii. pp. 264, 255; Hildreth, vol. 
ii. chap, zxviii. p. 528. 


not very strong in those communities, or their governors 
would not have been able to prevent delegates going to 
New York. 

The Stamp Act Congress passed resolutions of protest 
and sent a petition to the king and another to Parlia- 
ment. The arguments in these documents are very 
much the same as those used in the previous remonstrances. 
They, of course, took the precaution of expressing great 
loyalty to Great Britain and admiration for the mighty 
British empire, to which, they said, it was a great happiness 
to belong. They protested against the extension of the 
power, of admiralty courts, and declared that they had the 
same rights as Englishmen born within the realm. But 
the groundwork of their position was that Parliament 
could not tax them internally unless they were represented 
in that body ; from the nature of things, they could never 
be represented, and therefore Parliament could never tax 

It is to be observed that they did not ask for representa- 
tion in Parliament. They declared it to be impossible ; 
and Englishmen were quick to notice and comment on 
this. Grenville, in his speech against the repeal of the 
Stamp Act, called forcible attention to it, and reminded 
his hearers of its significance. 

It was the beginning of the rejection of all authority 
of Parliament. The colonists never changed their ground 
on this point. They always insisted that the distance 
across the ocean rendered representation impossible. It 
is quite obvious that the distance did not render representa- 
tion impossible ; it merely made it somewhat inconvenient. 
Each colony maintained one or more agents in London to 
look after its affairs and represent it at the executive de- 
partments of the government ; and these agents sometimes 
appeared before Parliament as witnesses. Each colony 


could in a similar way have maintained representatives in 

Governor Bernard, of Massachusetts; tells us, in his 
" Select Letters/' that at first the colonists were willing to 
be represented in Parliament, and made their argument in 
the alternative that if they were to be taxed internally 
they must be represented ; but fearing that representation 
might be allowed them, and that they would be irretrievably 
bound by any measure passed by Parliament, they quickly 
shifted to the position that representation was impossible, 
and therefore internal taxation constitutionally impossible. 

The documents of the colonists do not express a 4 will- 
ingness to be represented, although there are expressions 
used from which such a willingness might possibly be 
inferred. They may, however, have expressed such 
willingness in conversation; but after the time of the 
Stamp Act Congress all their published statements cling 
tightly to the impossibility of representation. 

This was regarded by many as a sure sign of the deter- 
mination of the rebel party to break from England in the 
end, and an evidence of the insincerity of their professions 
of loyalty. Raynal, the French writer, in his " Philo- 
sophical and Political History of the European Settlements 
in America," advised them never to yield on this impossi- 
bility of representation, for if once they were represented, 
the rest of Parliament could easily outvote them, their 
liberties would be gone, and their fetters permanently 
forged upon them.* 

The Stamp Act Congress admitted that the colonists 
owed allegiance to the British crown ; and they also said 

* Extracts from Baynal's book were widely circulated in a pam- 
phlet called " The Sentiments of a Foreigner on the Disputes of Great 
Britain with America." See, also, Cartwright's u American Indepen- 
dence, the Interest and Glory of Great Britain, J ' p. 50. 



, By admitting JinmsENTATivEs from the AMERICAS COLOXIES, 
and from ImANa into the BRITISH P^liameot, 


ch four so 

N ch three a 

S. Carolina 

Maryland ' 

Nora Scotia 

Lower Counties of Pcnfylvania 


W. flood* 

N. Carolina 






\ each to choofc, 
itn Rotation for I 
J the whole J 

Newfoundland and St. John'* 


St Vincent 

"::}: : 

LortJi for the principal Pro- 
vinc and KUnds, w ken as 

tyte^ Prerogative. 


Each Province fair Memberi 


Cork , 




And a proportfoniw Number ) 
of Lords tobecWtd by [ 
the Inlh I^ords from among j 
themiclves. J 

American Commons 50 
, t Lord?' ' 10 

" , ' lalh Cbramoits 30 
11 " Lords id 


low edition, vol. iv. p. !J 


that they owed u all due subordination to that august body, 
the Parliament of Great Britain." Parliament, therefore, 
had full authority over them, could tax their commerce 
by duties at the seaports, and levy this duty on exports as 
well as on imports, do everything, in short, except tax 
them internally. 

But if the principle " no taxation without representation" 
were sound English constitutional law, why did the colo- 
nists admit that they could be taxed at their seaports with- 
out representation ? A tax levied by Parliament on sugar, 
molasses, or other articles coming into the colonial sea- 
ports was paid by all the people of the province in the 
enhanced price of the goods. The duties on French and 
Spanish products, which had to be paid in specie, and 
drained specie out of the country, were a so-called external 
tax ; but they drained specie out of the interior of the 
country as well as from the seaports. It was, as Lord 
Mansfield said, like a pebble thrown into a pond, the 
circles from the splash would extend over the whole pond. 

In fact, in the very nature of things there could be no 
tax that could properly be called an external one. Every 
tax was an internal tax, because any tax that could be 
conceived of had to be levied on people or property within 
the boundaries of the country. "When once the tax-gatherer 
had entered the boundary, or taken private property for 
taxes just inside the boundary, at a seaport, it was as much 
internal taxation as though he were in the central town of 
lihe community. 

" What a pother," said an Irish member of Parliament, 
" whether money is to be taken out of their coat pocket or 
out of their waistcoat pocket." 

The colonists tried to keep up the distinction by saying 
that the duties on imports and exports were merely to 
regulate the commerce of the empire; the regulation of 


the commerce was the main object, and the duties were 
merely incidental. 

" The seals yours," said Franklin, in his examination before Par- 
liament ; * ' you maintain by your fleets the safety of navigation in it, 
and keep it clear of pirates ; you may have, therefore, a natural and 
equitable right to some toll or duty on merchandise carried through 
that part of your dominions, towards defraying the expense you are 
at in ships to maintain the safety of that carriage. J; 

Franklin, however, had not much faith in the distinc- 
tion, for when closely questioned he foretold that the colo- 
nists would change their ground, and deny all authority of 
Parliament, external as well as internal. "When his cross- 
examiners pressed him with the absurdity of the distinc- 
tion, and asked why the colonists should not also deny 
the right of external taxes, he replied, 

" They never have hitherto. Many arguments have been lately 
used here to show them that there is no difference, and that if you 
have no right to tax them internally, you have no right to tax them 
externally or make any other law to bind them. At present they do 
not reason so, but in time they may possibly be convinced by these 

The principle of " no taxation without representation," 
which the Stamp Act Congress declined to use against 
taxes levied at seaports, but cited against other taxes, had 
always been familiar to the colonists. It had been ap- 
pealed to on several occasions in the past hundred and 
fifty years, notably in Virginia and Massachusetts, against 
acts of the British government. Its fairness was obvious 
to all who believed in representative government and re- 
publicanism, but not at all obvious to those who rejected 
those methods. It was the outgrowth of the Eeformation 
doctrines of the natural rights of man, of which we shall 
have much to say hereafter. It was an application of 


the principle set forth in so many modern American docu- 
ments, that no government can be just which does not rest 
on the consent of the governed. The "consent of the 
governed" doctrine was often expressed by the phrase, 
" No laws can be made or abrogated without the consent 
of the people or their representatives/' Therefore taxing 
laws, like all other laws, must be by consent. 

The colonists said that " no taxation without representa- 
tion" was part of the British Constitution, one of the 
inalienable rights of Englishmen or Anglo-Saxons, as we 
would now put it. But so many things that particular 
persons want, or admire, are described in this way that we 
must be careful how we accept such statements. 

The British Constitution is a very fluid, fluctuating 
body, made up of customs, decisions of courts, acts of 
Parliament, tacit understandings, or whatever the omnipo- 
tent Parliament shall decide. There have always been 
two parties in England, at times diametrically opposed to 
each other ; so far apart in opinions that they might be 
separate nationalities or races, and yet each one insisting 
that its particular views are the true constitution. The 
English who came out to America were largely of one of 
these parties, which has been successively called round- 
head, whig, or liberal. They have at times claimed as 
part of the British Constitution doctrines which were 
advocated by liberals in England, and which Americans 
also thought ought to be part of the British Constitution, 
but which were never fully accepted or adopted. 

The Quakers, Baptists, and others at one time declared 
that religious liberty was part of the British Constitution, 
meaning that it ought to be a part, and that they would 
make it a part of the Constitution if they could. But it 
was not a part, because the very reverse had been prac- 
tised for several hundred years, and had driven thousands 


of these people to America, and it never became a part of 
the Constitution until made so by act of Parliament when 
William of Orange ascended the throne after the revolu- 
tion of 1688. 

" No taxation without representation" was never a part 
of the British Constitution, and is not a part of it even 
now. It could not be adopted without at the same time 
accepting the doctrine of government by consent, and that 
doctrine no nation with colonies could adopt, because it is 
a flat denial of the lawfulness of the colonial relation.* 

"No taxation without representation" had often been 
advocated in England by liberals of different sorts, Puri- 
tans, Eoundheads, and Whigs, who felt that they stood in 
need of it. The colonists thought that they had found 
two or three instances in which Parliament had partially 
recognized this doctrine. There were several old divisions 
of England, like the County Palatine of Chester, or the 
Principality of Wales, which in feudal times had been 
semi-independent. They were for a long time not taxed 
by Parliament, and when at last Parliament determined 
to tax them they were, the colonists said, given representa- 
tion. The colonists clung to these instances and kept 
repeating them in all their pamphlets ; but the instances 
were denied by some writers, and were certainly without 
avail in convincing Parliament and the vast majority of 

*"The Conduct of the Late Administration considered, " p. 61, 
London, 1767. English writers pointed out that such a doctrine 
would destroy the British Constitution of that time and throw the 
country into anarchy and confusion. <{ The Constitutional Bight of 
the Legislature of Great Britain to tax the British Colonies, " p. 51, 
London, 1768. 

t"The Bights of Great Britain asserted," p. 6, London, 1776; 
"Bemarks on the Beyiew of the Controversy between Great Britain 
and her Colonies,' 7 p. 85. 


Englishmen easily replied that these one or two instances, 
even supposing them to be as the colonists stated, were 
accidental and amounted to nothing in the face of the long- 
continued practice and custom to the contrary. In the 
year 1765 scarcely any of the great towns in England had 
representatives in Parliament and yet they were taxed. 
London, Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds, and 
Halifax paid their taxes every year, and sent not a single 
member to Parliament. In fact, out of the eight million 
people in England there were not above three hundred 
thousand represented.* 

Parliament was made up largely of rotten boroughs or 
pocket boroughs in the control of individuals or noblemen. 
Old Sarum had not a single inhabitant, and yet sent two 
members to Parliament. Eepresentative government as 
the colonists understood and practised it in their local 
assemblies, or as we now understand it, had at that time 
no existence in England. 

All this was wrong and a bad system, as we would say 
in America ; but that is not the question. Parliament had 
slowly grown into that state from the old feudal customs ; 
and that growth or that condition was the British Consti- 
tution of that day. There were a few, a very few, men in 
England who wanted it changed and the principle of no 
taxation without representation adopted. Lord Camden 
argued to this effect during the Stamp Act debates in a 
most interesting speech in the House of Lords. Lord 
Mansfield, a u still greater legal luminary, argued on the 
opposite side. These two speeches are well worth reading 
by any one who is interested in the details of the subject. 

* " The Eight of the British Legislature to tax the American Colo- 
nies/ 7 London, 1774 ; " An Englishman's Answer to the Address from 
the Delegates to the People of Great Britain," etc., p. 8, New York, 



Mansfield's side was, of course, successful. When the 
British Parliament announced, by the Declaratory Act of 
1766, that they had the constitutional right to tax the 
colonies as they pleased, externally or internally, up or 
down, or in any other way, they were undoubtedly acting 
in accordance with the long settled constitutional custom, 
and that decision has never been reversed.* 

The sum of the matter in regard to no taxation without 
representation is, that America, having been settled by the 
liberal, radical, and in most instances minority element of 
English politics, accepted, and England, being usually 
under the influence of the Tory element, rejected this much- 
discussed doctrine. We went our separate ways. Although 
we were of the same race as the people of England, the 
differences between us were as far-reaching and radical as 
though we were a totally different people, and the gulf was 
being steadily widened. 

In arguing with the colonists, an Englishman would 
sometimes leave the firm ground of pure constitutional 
right, and say, you are already represented in Parliament 
more amply and fully represented than you could be in one 
of your own, and better protected than if you sent your 
own people to the Parliament that sits in London. There 
are always members there who take a special interest in 
you and protect all the rights to which you are entitled. 
William Pitt and Lord Camden, as well as Fox, Barr6, 
Conway, Pownall, Dowdeswill, and Edmund Burke, fight 
your battles for you with an eloquence far beyond any your 

*Younge, " Constitutional History of England," p. 72. The 
British Parliament has to-day the right to tax any of its colonies with- 
out representation. Parliament is omnipotent in this as in other 
respects, and has been so declared as late as 1865. "American His- 
torical Review," vol. i.p. 37; Proceedings of the American Antiqua- 
rian Society, vol. vii. p. 181 ; Jenkyns, u British Bule and Jurisdiction 
beyond the Sea," p. 10. 


ablest men possess j and it was by their defence of you 
that the Stamp Act and the paint, paper, and glass act 
were repealed. 

There was a certain amount of force in this argument, 
especially to a mind that was inclined to loyalism. But 
the patriotic party replied that they wanted the protection 
of ascertained and fixed rights, so that they would not 
need the condescending protection of these so-called great 
men in Parliament who would not live forever or who 
might change their opinions. 

The Englishman would then argue that the colonists 
were virtually represented in Parliament just as the vast 
majority of people in England were virtually represented. 
All the members of Parliament, although elected by an 
insignificant fraction of the people, were charged with the 
duty of legislating for those unrepresented, and caring for 
their interests, and had always done so. The seven mil- 
lion people who had no direct representation were never- 
theless virtually represented by all the members of Par- 
liament, and in the same way the colonists were virtually 

This was the only sort of representation which the 
majority of Englishmen recognized or understood, and 
they maintained it down into our own time. The Ameri- 
can systematic representation by small districts, giving an 
approximately equal and thorough representation, was not 
only unrecognized but regarded as a mere radical and 
dangerous dream of philosophers and visionaries. The 
House of Lords represented all the nobility, the House of 
Commons represented all the commoners, and the colonists 
as commoners were therefore fully represented. 

To this virtual representation the colonists had a very 
strong reply, because, as they pointed out, the unrepre- 
sented people in England were more or less intimately 


associated with the represented people, and the laws had 
to be the same for all. Those members of Parliament 
who laid taxes on unrepresented Leeds and Manchester 
taxed themselves and their constituents at the same time. 
But when they taxed America they could and did lay a 
tax entirely different from those they put on themselves 
and their constituents.* 

Yes, the Englishman would reply, and the difference 
has been that they put far lighter taxes on you than they 
place on themselves. England is overwhelmed with taxes 
on wagons, furniture, and every article a man can have, 
even to the panes of glass in his house. They propose 
nothing of that sort for you. They want from you only 
the lightest and most trifling taxes. The people of Eng- 
land pay twenty-five shillings per head in taxes. They 
ask from you only sixpence per head, although they have 
spent in support of your government and protection since 
1690, without counting the cost of the war with France, 
43,697,142, of which over 1,500,000 was paid in 
bounties on your products.f 

Richard Bland, of Virginia, published an interesting 
argument. It is true, he said, that nearly nine-tenths of 
the people in England are not represented. But how has 
that happened ? By despotism and the alternation of the 
original laws of England. Among the old Anglo-Saxons, 
before the Normans came in, everything was equal and all 
the people were represented. If nine-tenths are now de- 
prived of their rights, it is by a departure from the original 

* " Considerations on the Propriety of imposing Taxes in the Brit- 
ish Colonies," London, 1766. See, also, "Considerations on the 
Mature and Extent of the Legislative Authority of the British Par- 
liament/' Philadelphia. 

f "The Bights of Great Britain asserted against the Claims of 
America," p. 80, London, 1776. Cobbett, " Parliamentary History, " 
vol. xviii. p. 222. 


Saxon purity, and that purity should be restored. Let us 
restore it in America, or rather keep it restored, for we 
have already restored it here, instead of imitating the 
oppression which has destroyed it in England. 

The loyalists wanted the colonies to be directly repre- 
sented in Parliament, and some of them argued that the 
only fair and proper way by which they could be repre- 
sented would be by giving them representatives in pro- 
portion to their population, revenue, and growing power. 
As these were increasing every year, the representation 
would continually have to be enlarged ; and, as America 
was greater in its size and resources than England, the 
colonies would before long have more representatives in 
Parliament than the British Isles ; and the seat of power 
of the British empire would of necessity be removed to 

The object of this argument was to try to settle all 
disputes by a closer union with the mother-country in- 
stead of drawing away from her. They tried to show the 
patriots that in the end America would reap the principal 
advantage of a closer union. This was one of the points 
where they differed decidedly from the Tory party in 
England. While believing in the empire, and rejecting 
all attempts to break it by independence, they professed to 
believe enough in America to wish it equal rights with 
England, and a final merger that would bring the king 

* The forecasts of the increase of population which those who used 
this argument made have been very nearly fulfilled. They estimated 
one hundred and twenty millions for the year 1924. "We shall prob- 
ably not reach that number at the present rate of increase, but we 
shall not be very far behind it. Other estimates which they gave were 
twenty-four millions in sixty years from 1774 and ninety-six millions 
in one hundred years. They based their estimates on the rate of in- 
crease in their own time, when the population doubled within thirty 
years ; but this rate was not kept up. 


and London society to live in Philadelphia, leaving Eng- 
land to become a dependency. 

"When the numbers, power, and revenues of America exceed 
those of Britain a revolution of the seat of empire will surely take place. 
. . . Should the Georges in regular succession wear the British 
diadem to a number ranking with the Louises of France, many a 
goodly prince of that royal line will have mingled his ashes with 
American dust, and not many generations may pass away before one 
of the first monarchs of the world on ascending his throne shall 
declare, with exulting joy, 'Born and educated amongst you, I 
glory in the name of American.' " " A !Pew Political Reflections 
submitted to the Consideration of the British Colonies," p. 49, Phila- 
delphia, 1774. 

But it was all academic and aside from the practical 
question. The old Anglo-Saxon institutions had been ex- 
tinguished in England for seven hundred years, and the 
loyalists saw visions. The vital question was as to the 
British Constitution as it stood in the year 1765. Could 
the patriot colonists persuade the British majority to 
change it and go the radical colonial way ? 

When Englishmen and loyalists reflected that Parlia- 
ment could enact the death penalty in the colonies, and 
take away a colonist's life by a law to which he had not 
consented, it seemed strange that it could not take from a 
colonist without his consent a shilling a year in taxes. 
They began collecting and publishing the numerous in- 
stances in which Parliament had long regulated colonial 
internal afiairs, so as to show that it was hardly possible 
that there could be an exception in the one item of taxation 
inside of the seaports. 

A notable instance of internal regulation was the colo- 
nial post-office system, which was begun by an act of Par- 
liament in 1692, and enlarged and extended by another 
act in 1710 ; and this same act fixed and regulated the 


rates of postage in all the colonies and exempted letter- 
carriers from paying ferriage over rivers. It was unques- 
tionably an internal regulation, and seemed very much like 
a tax on the colonists for carrying their letters. It was an 
internal tax and a very heavy one, because the postage 
rates were high. In 1765, the same year as the Stamp Act, 
the postage rates in the colonies were again regulated by 
Parliament. But although the colonists complained of the 
Stamp Act they never complained of the postage regula- 

Loyalists could be very annoying on this point, for it 
was difficult to deny that there was a strong resemblance 
between demanding postage on letters and exacting a 
stamp duty on the legal or business document inside the 
wrapper. The real difference was that by paying the 
postage the colonists received in return an immediate and 
undeniable benefit in having their letters carried at the 
mother-country's expense by a general system which was 
uniform throughout the colonies, while in the case of the 
stamp tax England seemed to be getting all the benefit. 
The general benefit of the post-office had been so great 
and obvious that in 1692, 1710, and 1765, when Parlia- 
mentary post-office acts were passed, it never occurred to 
any one to think of them as dangerous precedents of 
internal regulation.* 

If the Stamp Act is unconstitutional, Englishmen would 
say, so also is the post-office act; but your arch rebel 
Franklin still remains postmaster of the colonies, and 
enjoys the salary, although the act under which he holds 

* See u Considerations on the Propriety of imposing Taxes in the 
British Colonies," etc, pp. 55, 56, London, 1766. The author of this 
pamphlet argues against the post-office as a precedent for internal tax- 
ation, and then admits that, "being so convenient, it slipped in as a pre- 
cedent without the colonists being aware of its danger. 


office should, according to his own argument, be declared 

If you want other instances, said the loyalists, of Parlia- 
ment regulating the internal affairs of the colonies for the 
last century and more, they are innumerable. As far back 
as 1650, under the protectorate of Oliver Cromwell, that 
huge son of liberty, Parliament passed an act blocking up 
the ports of Barbadoes, Virginia, Bermuda, and Antigua, 
and in that old act of Cromwell's time it is expressly 
declared that the colonies are subject to Parliament. 

Going farther back than 1650, they fouiid another 
instance in 1643, when Parliament passed an ordinance 
putting the whole government of the colonies in the hands 
of a governor-general and seventeen commissioners, with 
unlimited powers to " provide for, order, and dispose of all 
things which they shall think most fit and advantageous 
for the well -governing, securing, strengthening, and pre- 
serving of the said plantations." Was not Parliament then 
exercising power, and omnipotent power, in the colonies ? 
And Oliver Cromwell himself was one of the com- 

Then, also, there was the act in the second year of 
George II., levying duties out of the wages of all American 
seamen for the purpose of building up Greenwich Hospital. 
By the Parliament also were passed from time to time 
those acts restraining the colonies from manufacturing 
certain articles, notably hats, articles of iron and of steel ; 
slitting mills were prohibited, and also the cutting of pine- 
trees ; lands were made liable to the payment of debts ; the 
statute of wills extended to the colonies ; paper currency 
was restrained ; indentured servants empowered to enlist, 
troops raised in the colonies made subject to the articles 
of war, and so on. In fact, Parliament had over and over 
again walked about in the colonial internal organs, with- 


out arousing much, if any complaint, and without doing 
any harm.* 

Sometimes, it is true, said the loyalists, you have protested 
against some particular part of this regulation by Parlia- 
ment when you happened not to like it. When Cromwell 
was handling Virginia rather roughly her people announced 
the doctrine that there must be no taxation without repre- 
sentation. Doubtless also you could find some other pro- 
tests. But you never protested on principle against the 
post-office, or the statute of wills, or the countless other 
regulations. You never protested on principle against any 
internal regulation that was a convenience or a benefit to 
you. And what do the few isolated protests you may have 
made amount to against the fact of long continued action 
by Parliament for over a hundred years. 

As Parliament had done so much in colonial internal 
affairs without consent and without representation, and 
could impose a tax at the seaports, it certainly seemed 
extraordinary that it could not tax generally or internally, 
when we consider that the power of general taxation is 
the most important part, and, indeed, the foundation, of 
legislative power, if legislative power is to exist at all. 

It was at first claimed by the colonists that Parliament, 
in spite of all its internal regulating, had never actually 
assumed control of private property in America, and there- 
fore could not take away private property by a tax law to 
which the colonists had not consented ; or, as the Stamp 
Act Congress put it, " Parliament could not grant to his 
Majesty the property of the colonists." But Parliament 

* "The Eights of Great Britain asserted, " pp. 27-39, London, 
1776. "The Supremacy of the British Legislature over the Colonies 
candidly discussed," London, 1775; "An Englishman's Answer to 
the Address from the Delegates to the People of G-reat Britain, ;; p. 10, 
New York, 1775. 


had taken away private property by so-called external 
taxes at the seaports, which the colonists admitted to be 
constitutional, and an act of Parliament was very soon 
found by which private property had been controlled by 
Parliament all over the colonies. 

This was the famous act of 1732, which made all lands, 
slaves, and personal property in the colonies liable for the 
debts of British merchants. The English merchants had 
petitioned to have this act passed as a protection. They 
were obliged to give the colonists in America long credit 
for the goods they sold them. As this debtor class 
increased the English merchants feared that the colonial 
legislatures would be persuaded to pass stay laws to pre- 
vent the seizure of colonial property in payment of such 
debts. Jamaica had already passed an act of this sort. 
Accordingly, the act of Parliament of 1732 provided that 
all lands, goods, and negro slaves in America should at all 
times be liable to seizure and sale for debt just as if they 
were in England.* 

An enormous trade and commerce sprang up, it was 
said, under the protection of this act. Without the act 
the English merchants would have refused to give the 
colonists long credit ; and the colonists, having no specie 
and little money of any kind in circulation except depre- 
ciated paper, would have been unable to pay cash or pay on 
short time ; would, in short, have been unable to trade. 
But under the protection of the act they reaped a greater 
harvest than the English merchants. Their wonderful 
prosperity in recent years, said the English, flowed from 
that act of Parliament ; and accordingly they never pro- 
tested or objected to it as exercising jurisdiction over 

* "The Interest of the Merchants and Manufacturers of Great 
Britain in the Present Contest with the Colonies, " p. 38, London, 


private property. They never asked that they should first 
be represented in Parliament; and never complained of 
want of representation. 

If, therefore, said the Englishman, Parliament can, with- 
out your consent, enact a law taking away your life by 
capital punishment, and in the same way without your 
consent take away your private property by means of 
taxes levied on goods coming into your seaports, and in 
the same way enact a law taking away your private 
property for debt, what do you mean by saying that Par- 
liament cannot take away your private property by means 
of taxes levied in all your towns ? Where is their any 
authority for such a distinction as that ? 

There was no authority. The colonists were compelled 
to change their ground and deny all the authority of Par- 
liament. The truth of the matter was that Parliament 
had the right to rule, and had always ruled, the colonies 
without their consent. If a community is a colony in the 
English sense, it necessarily is ruled without its consent. 
The American patriot argument meant in reality the extin- 
guishment of the colonial relation. 

But let us leave the arguments and see what the colo- 
nists actually did in November, 1765, when the Stamp Act 
was to go into effect. It never went into effect. It never 
was executed. The colonists by a most remarkable una- 
nimity of action killed it more effectually than they had 
killed the clauses of the navigation and trade acts which 
did not suit them. They simply did not use the stamps. 
Legal proceedings went on as usual without them ; vessels 
entered and departed without stamped papers; business 
men by common consent paid no attention to the stamp 
law ; newspapers were published without a stamp, or 
with a death's head where the stamp should have been. 
In fact, there were no stamps or stamped papers to use, for 


the distributers had all been compelled to resign, and the 
supplies of stamps or stamped paper which had arrived 
from England had been sent back, stored away in ware- 
houses, or destroyed by mobs. 

It would be difficult to find in all history another 
instance of such complete and thorough disobedience of 
a well-considered law which one of the most powerful 
nations of the world had made elaborate preparations to 
enforce. But the colonists went farther and prepared to 
punish England by what we would now call boycotting. 
They had already largely abstained from buying English 
goods, because of the " sugar act " and the attempt to pre- 
vent smuggling. They now carried the plan still farther. 
Associations were formed for the purpose, and so thorough 
was the understanding that between November and Jan- 
uary trade with England almost ceased. 

Thousands of working people, manufacturers, laborers, 
and seamen in England were said to be thrown out of 
employment, and believed themselves threatened with 
starvation. Petitions began to pour into Parliament from 
London, Bristol, Lancaster, Liverpool, Hull, Glasgow, and, 
indeed, as the " Annual Register" of that date informs us, 
from most of the trading and manufacturing towns and 
boroughs of the kingdom. The trade with the colonies 
was between 2,000,000 and 3,000,000 per year. It was 
no light matter to cut down such an enormous sum. 
Worse still, the colonists were indebted to British mer- 
chants in some 2,000,000 or 3,000,000 on past sales, 
and when pressed for payment expressed great willing- 
ness, but declared that the recent acts of Parliament had so 
interrupted and disturbed their commerce, and thrown, 
them into such confusion that " the means of remittances 
and payments were utterly lost and taken from them/' * 
* Annual Register, 1766, vol. ix, chap. vii. pp. 35, 3C. 


John Bull was apparently struck in his pocket, the most 
tender spot on his person. Meantime, during the previous 
summer the Grenville ministry, which had secured the 
passage of the Stamp Act, quarrelled with the king and 
went out of power. A new ministry was formed by 
Lord Buckingham out of a faction of the "Whig party. 
This ministry was very short-lived ; and has usually been 
described as weak, although it secured some legislation 
which has been admired. It had to settle first of all the 
great question raised by the supposed starving workmen, 
and the merchants and manufacturers with their petitions 
crowding the lobbies of Parliament. They asked to have 
the Stamp Act repealed. But general public opinion, both 
in Parliament and throughout the country, was exasperated 
at the resistance in America and was in favor of further 
repressive measures.* 

The whole question of the taxation of the colonies was 
raised again ; witnesses, experts on trade, all sorts of persons 
familiar with the colonies, including Franklin, were called 
to the bar of the House, examined, and cross-examined. 
The agents of the different colonies were constantly in 
attendance in the lobbies. No source of information was 
left unexplored. The ablest men of the country were 
pitted against each other in continual debates, and colonial 
taxation was the leading topic of conversation among all 
classes. There were two main questions : Was the Stamp 
Act constitutional ? and, If constitutional, was it expedient ? 

It was the innings of a radical section of the "Whigs, 
and, being favorable to liberalism and the colonies, they 
decided that the Stamp Act was not expedient. They 
accordingly repealed it within a year after its passage. 
But they felt quite sure, as did also the vast majority of 
Englishmen, that Parliament had a constitutional right to 

* Lecky, "England in the Eighteenth Century," vol. iii. p* 100. 


tax the colonies as it pleased, and so they passed what 
became known as the Declaratory Act, asserting the con- 
stitutional right of Parliament to bind the colonies " in all 
cases whatsoever ;" and this is still the law of England. 

The rejoicing over the repeal of the Stamp Act was dis- 
played, we are told, in a most extraordinary manner, even 
in England. The ships in the Thames hoisted their colors 
and houses were illuminated. The colonists had apparently 
been able to hit a hard blow by the stoppage of trade. The 
rejoicing, however, as subsequent events showed, was not 
universal. It was the rejoicing of Whigs or of the par- 
ticular ship-owners, merchants, and workingmen who 
expected relief from the restoration of the American trade. 
It was noisy and conspicuous. There must have been some 
exaggeration in the account of the sufferings from loss of 
trade. It is not improbable that Parliament had been 
stampeded by a worked-up excitement in its lobbies ; for 
very soon it appeared that the great mass of Englishmen 
were unchanged in their opinion of proper colonial policy ; 
and, as was discovered in later years, the stoppage of 
the American trade did not seriously injure the business or 
commercial interests of England.* 

Eut in America the rejoicing was, of course, univer- 
sal. There were letters and addresses, thanksgivings in 
churches, the boycotting associations were instantly dis- 
solved, trade resumed, homespun given to the poor, and 
the people felt proud of themselves and more independent 
than ever because they could compel England to repeal 

The colonists were certainly lucky in having chanced 
upon a Whig administration for their great appeal against 
taxation. It has often been said that both the Declara- 
tory Act and the repeal of the Stamp Act were a combina- 
* "Letters of James Murray, Loyalist/' p. 258. 


tion of sound constitutional law and sound policy, and that 
if this same Whig Hne of conduct had been afterwards 
consistently followed, England would not have lost her 
American colonies. No doubt if such a Whig policy had 
been continued the colonies would have been retained in 
nominal dependence a few years longer. But such a 
policy would have left the colonies in their semi-indepen- 
dent condition without further remodelling or reform, with 
British sovereignty unestablished in them, and with a 
powerful party of the colonists elated by their victory 
over England. They would have gone on demanding 
more independence until they snapped the last string. 

In fact, the Whig repeal of the Stamp Act advanced 
the colonies far on their road to independence. They 
had learned their power, learned what they could do by 
united action, and had beaten the British government 
in its chosen game. It was an impressive lesson. Con- 
sciously or unconsciously the rebel party among them 
was moved a step forward in that feeling for a distinct 
nationality which a naturally separated people can scarcely 

Such a repeal, such a going backward and yielding to the 
rioting, threats, and compulsion of the colonists, was cer- 
tainly not that " firm and consistent policy" which both 
then and now has been recommended as the true course in 
dealing with dependencies. The Tories condemned the re- 
peal on this account, and in the course of the next ten or 
fifteen years ascribed to it the increasing coil of colonial 

* The arguments against repealing the Stamp Act are well and 
briefly summarized in "Correct Copies of the Two Protests against 
the Bill to repeal the American Stamp Act," London, 1766. See, 
also, " The Constitutional Bight of the Legislature of Great Britain to 
tax the British Colonies," p. 25, London, 1768. 


In one sense it made little difference whether the policy 
was easy or severe. Whig conciliation encouraged and 
Tory half-way severity irritated the patriot party into inde- 
pendence. Independence could have been prevented only 
by making the severity so crushing and terrible as to reduce 
the country to the condition of Ireland. 




DURING the year after the repeal of the Stamp Act 
politics were comparatively quiet in. the colonies. The 
Assembly of Virginia voted a statue to the king and an 
obelisk to Pitt, and New York voted statues to both the 
king and Pitt. Several of the colonies passed acts indem- 
nifying those who had suffered in the Stamp Act riots. 

There was, however, one cloud in the sky. A clause of 
the Mutiny Act, passed at the same time as the Stamp 
Act, had required the colonial legislatures to provide the 
British soldiers quartered in America with barracks, fires, 
beds, candles, and other necessaries. This provision was 
now enforced as part of the remodelling of the colonies. 
The officers in command demanded their supplies. The 
assembly in New York voted part of the supplies, but 
failed to furnish vinegar, salt, and pepper. 

This disobedience on the part of a dependency was ex- 
tremely irritating, even to a Whig ministry ; and an act 
of Parliament was promptly passed prohibiting the New 
York Assembly from enacting any law until it complied 
with the requisition for the soldiers. This was internal 
regulation with a vengeance, that Parliament and a Whig 
ministry should actually suspend the power of a colonial 
legislature. Yet the act was unquestionably constitutional, 
because the colonists themselves had admitted that Parlia- 
ment had full control over them, except in the matter of 
internal taxation. 



They now began to realize the absurdity of the ground 
they had taken, and to see that the colonial relation neces- 
sarily implied full power of Parliament over New York 
or any other colony. New York, however, submitted, 
obeyed orders, and everything remained comparatively 

A few months after the repeal of the Stamp Act the king 
and the Eockingham ministry disagreed, and on July 7, 
1766, that ministry went out of office. William Pitt 
formed a new one, made up of politicians from the various 
cliques and factions of the Whigs, a most impossible and 
impracticable ministry, and as short-lived as its predecessor. 

Pitt was no longer the powerful statesman who had car- 
ried England through the great war with France and 
secured for her Canada and what seemed to be a world- 
wide empire. His health was broken and his nervous 
system shattered. He was afflicted with paroxysms of 
anger, could not bear the slightest noise, or even the pres- 
ence of his children in the same house with him. He 
spent enormous sums of money in planting his country- 
seat, " Hayes," and secluding himself within it. He sold 
the country-seat, but was so unhappy at parting with it 
that his wife bought it back for him. He required a con- 
stant succession of chickens to be kept cooking in his 
kitchens all day to satisfy his uncertain, but at times 
ravenous, appetite.* 

In forming the new ministry he compelled the king to 
give him a title, and henceforth he is known as Lord 
Chatham. Within a few weeks after forming the minis- 
try his health failed so rapidly that he had to be taken to 
the continent. He never afterwards exercised any control 
in the ministry of which he was supposed to be the head, 

* Lecky, " England in the Eighteenth Century," edition of 1882, 
vol. iii. p. 121. 


and within a little more than a year he retired from it 
altogether. But up to his death, in 1778, he would occa- 
sionally appear in the House of Lords to make those 
eloquent and pathetic appeals, from which our school-boys 
used to recite passages, denouncing the government because 
it would not withdraw all the troops from America, and 
by peaceful discussion persuade the colonies to stay within 
the empire. 

As for the ministry he had formed, it was not Ms in 
any sense. On every question it pursued a course opposed 
to his policy and after extraordinary confusion and di- 
visions it soon ceased to bear even the semblance of a 
Whig ministry,* for by successive resignations Tories were 
admitted until it became all Tory. Lord Hillsborough and 
Lord North were admitted to it ; and finally that extreme 
and thorough-going Tory Lord George Germain. The 
Whigs went entirely out of power, and for the remainder 
of the time we have a Tory government dealing with the 

The constant changing of ministries at this time had not 
a little to do with the development of the revolutionary 
spirit in America. A ministry seldom lasted over a year. 
While there were the two great parties, Whig and Tory, 
they were strangely confused and split up into factions. 
Party lines were not distinctly drawn, f There could be 
no consistent and steady colonial policy. Whig minis- 
tries used Tory methods and Tory ministries used Whig 
methods. The uncertainty, the shifting back and forth 
from severity to liberality, passing taxing acts and repeal- 
ing them, was a vast encouragement to the colonial rebels. 
As our Revolution advanced we find party lines and policies 

* Lecky, " England in the Eighteenth Century," edition of 1882, 
vol. iii. p. 123, et seq. 
f Ibid., pp. 110-114. 


in England becoming clearer, until towards the end they 
are quite distinct ; and in 1778 the ministry carried out a 
distinctly Tory policy. 

As one reads in this period of English history how 
weak, divided, and headless every ministry was; how 
bankrupt and disturbed business had become; how vio- 
lent the excitement and rioting over Wilkes ; how incapa- 
ble the government was to keep ordinary civil order even 
in London, one cannot help smiling to think of the oppor- 
tunities our ancestors had in this confusion. There has 
been no period since then when we could have broken 
away so easily. Luck was an important factor in the 
Eevolution, and attended us from the beginning to the 

In the autumn of 1766 Parliament went to the country, 
and, as was naturally to be expected, the new election re- 
turned a body more determined than ever to remodel the 
colonies, It is difficult for any nation to endure a depen- 
dency where its sovereignty is not recognized. The colo- 
nists had compelled England to repeal an important law, 
and had brought about this repeal by violence, by with- 
holding trade, by starving English merchants and work- 
ingmen. Could this be endured ? could it be possible that 
a set of inferior people in a dependency had such power as 

Observing the temper the house was in, Charles Town- 
send, Chancellor of the Exchequer, a whig, and a most 
brilliant but uncertain member of the patch-work Chat- 
ham ministry, announced, on January 26, 1767, that 
the administration was prepared to solve the American 
problem. This solution would render the colonies self- 
sustaining, and relieve Great Britain of the expense of 
securing, defending, and protecting them. He knew, he 
said, a mode by which revenue could be drawn from 


America for this purpose without causing the heat and 
turmoil of the Stamp Act ; and for this hopeful announce- 
ment he was vigorously applauded on all sides. 

His plan was nothing more than taking the colonists at 
their word on the distinction between external and internal 
taxes. They had said that they were willing to pay ex- 
ternal taxes, so a bill was introduced laying a duty on 
paint, paper, glass, and tea imported into the colonies, and 
to be paid at their seaports in the exact manner which they 
had said was lawful and constitutional. 

It was also at this time that other bills were introduced 
creating commissioners of customs to reside in Boston, 
strengthening the jurisdiction of the admiralty courts, and 
taking other vigorous measures to suppress American 
smuggling, as already described in a previous chapter. 
This patch-work Whig ministry felt as strongly as the 
Tories the necessity for remodelling and reforming the 

The paint, paper, and glass act was a great landmark in 
the Revolution, and wrought a great change of opinion. 
The colonists were fairly caught in their own argument. 
These new taxes were external, and, therefore, constitutional. 
At the same time they were laid on articles of such uni- 
versal use, imported in such large quantities from Eng- 
land, that they would be paid in the enhanced price of 
the articles by all the people all over the country just like 
the stamp tax, and so were as much an internal taxation as 
the stamp tax. The colonists could only weakly argue 
against them that they were purely for raising revenue, 
and not for the regulation of the commerce of the empire. 

But although they were as internal in their effect as the 
stamp tax, they could not be resisted, as the stamp tax had 
been resisted, by simply not using the stamps. These 
taxes were collected at the seaports by the authority and 


force of the British, navy and army and a host of new 
revenue officers. If the articles were imported, the taxes 
would usually be paid, and the articles were of such 
universal use that it was difficult not to import them. 

Petitions, resolves, and remonstrances were again sent 
to England, and the associations for suspending importa- 
tions were renewed ; but it is noticeable that there was no 
rioting. In fact, the colonists were acting in a rather sub- 
dued manner. They hardly knew what to think. The 
next step was a serious one. They must adopt new politi- 
cal principles. Their leaders were holding them in check. 
A town meeting was held in Boston to discountenance 
rioting, and Otis urged caution and advised that no oppo- 
sition should be made to the new duties. On the 20th of 
November, 1767, when the taxes went into effect, the peo- 
ple were remarkably quiet.* 

Their petitions, letters, and public documents are full 
of the most elaborate expressions of loyalty and devotion. 
The famous petition which Massachusetts sent to the king 
in January, 1768, is apparently the perfection of simple- 
hearted unquestioning loyalty. Knowing what was in 
their hearts, it is most amusing to read the long-drawn-out 
humble submissiveness of their words. There is no bold 
arguing against the right to tax. They merely beg and be- 
seech to be relieved from these new taxes. If they cannot 
be relieved from them, then they can only " regret their un- 
happy fate." They repeat the old unfortunate admission 
of the Stamp Act Congress that Parliament has super- 
intending authority over them, but instead of adding the 
exception of internal taxation, they have a new exception, 
which they state by saying that this supremo authority 
extends to (< all cases that can consist with the fundamental 
rights of nature and the constitution." Those words, 
* Barry, " History of Massachusetts," vol. ii. pp. 340, 341. 


" fundamental rights of nature," were a new way of limit- 
ing the authority of Parliament and significant of what 
was soon to happen. 

Glancing at the documents sent out by the other, colo- 
nies, we find another idea obtruding itself. They ask 
for a return of the conditions and privileges they had 
enjoyed before the French War closed in 1763; the old 
days when the French in Canada prevented any remodel- 
ling or reform by England. This request for a return to 
that happy golden age became a watchword in the patriot 

In the next month, February, 1768, the Massachusetts 
Assembly sent to all the other colonial assemblies a circular 
letter, very cautiously worded, and arguing the subject in a 
quiet way. There is nothing about external and internal 
taxes ; but the recent duties on paint, paper, and glass are 
said to be infringements of their natural and constitutional 
rights, because such duties take away their property without 
their consent ; which is simply a roundabout way of say- 
ing that no taxation without representation, and the doc- 
trine of consent, must now be applied to external as well 
as internal taxes. 

It is to be observed that they say that the duties are 
infringements of their natural and constitutional rights. 
A year or two before it was only their constitutional rights ; 
now it is also their natural rights. They are broadening 
their position to meet the new conditions. Massachusetts 
also said in the circular letter that the doctrine of consent 
was an "unalterable right in nature ingrafted into the 
British Constitution." This was altogether a new way of 
looking at the British Constitution, to "ingraft" upon it a 
right of nature against the will of Parliament and the 
English people ; and these rights of nature will soon have 
to be considered in a separate chapter. 


The Massachusetts circular letter, of course, insists 
strongly that it is impossible that the colonies should ever 
be represented in Parliament ; and it declares in all serious- 
ness that the colonists are not seeking " to make themselves 
independent of the mother country." In short, they are 
just dear, good children, who are so devoted to mother 
England that they will show her how to remodel her con- 

The British government, however, was not in the least 
deceived. They very naturally regarded this letter as " of 
a most dangerous and factious tendency, calculated to in- 
flame the minds of good subjects in the colonies." The 
chief object of the letter had been to promote union among 
the colonies, unite them in opposition, and encourage a 
reciprocal expression of feeling. The government quickly 
saw this, and there was an unsuccessful attempt to have 
Massachusetts rescind the letter.* This caused an irritating 
controversy, which has been most voluminously described 
in many histories, but into the details of which we have 
not space to enter. 

It has been commonly said that the attempt of the 
government to have the letter rescinded was unwise because 
it was practically a denial of the right to petition, and made 
the colonies more rebellious than ever. But the ministry 
were in an awkward predicament. They saw that the 
colonies were evidently moving off. There was a powerful 
rebel party at work among them. Should the government 
stand still and let them go ? 

The most serious provision of the paint, paper, and 

* Paul Bevere, patriot, silversmith, engraver, and lover of saddle- 
horses, celebrated the refusal of the legislature to rescind l>y making a 
handsome silver punch-bowl, inscribed, u To the Memory of the Glori- 
ous Ninety-two Members of the Honorable House of Koprcstmtativos of 
the Massachusetts Bay, who on the 30th of June, 1708, voted not to 
rescind. ' ; 

A New 


Addrefidto the-SONS of LIBERTT, on tleContlnent of AMERICA ; 
particularly to tic illuflHous^ Glorious and never to b& Forgotten 

The Americans are the Sons, not the Baflardsof EngLnd ; theCartnw/J/ of America, reprefented 
in their feveral Aflcmblies.hive ever been in PoQeflionof the Exercife oft&it tbetr Gmflt- 
" tuttonal Right, of GIVING and GRANTING their OWN MONEY j they would haro 
" been SLAVES, if they had noc enjoyed It." 

7 * Mr. PITT'* Sftect. 

lune "Come jolly Bacchus" &c. or Glorious firft of AUGUST.** 

V^ ComeALL with Hearts UNITED, 
Our Motto is " WE DARE BE FREE" 
Not eafily affrighted ! 

in*a T 

Oppreflion's Band we rnuft fubdue, 

//* is the Time, or never ; 
Let each Man PROVE this Motto True. 

And SLAVERY from him fever. 

See Liberty high poiz'd in Air, 

Her FREE BORN SONS commanding, 
" Come on, my Sons, without all fear ; 

Your NAT'RAL RIGHTS demanding 1 
" Your C*4USE, the Gods proclaim, is Juff, 

" Can tamely, you, bcfttter'd ? 
" In which, dtftwbyour Fathert *DUST\ 

" Wkb S, be rwr Jercer'd!" 

Pale vlfHig'd Fear, lee none 
Or Terrors e're perlex him, 

POSTERITY wi/lcver blcfi. 
And nought hereafter vex him ; 

To Freeaonfs Banner, Jet's Repair j 
When e're we fee Occafion- 

Obey, my Brothers, Waturfs call. 
Your Country too demands it I 

Let LIBERTY ne'er have a Fall I 
*Tis Freedom that commands ir. 

The *4ft, now to the Ryot is /aitf. 
Will yon be, or SONT> or JTRJUS f 

Nor WIVES nor CHILDREN, tho" moft der, No TIIM to paufe then Whofe afraid ?" 
E're flop to look, or gaze on. Live or dtc m Liberty / 

Now FARMER, Dear, we'll fill to you, 

May ffeero'n its Blcffings fhow'r, 
As on the Gloriotts NlfifeTT-TfTO, 

Bvit Seventeen devour 
Mean abieft Wretches f Slaves i n Grain / 

How dare ye &cw year Faces I 
To lateft Days, go draw your Chain I 

Like other MULES or -4 


In Frcftfom's Caufe, the flavifh Knave, 

'Twere bener his Condition, 
(That might his Ctuntry'j Ruin fave !) 

To fink jnto Perdition ; 
Chain' d to a GALLEY, groan' his Days, 

And never be forgotten, 
"While Furies croak his Bondage Loyt, 

After he's Dead and> Rotten. 

Once JnouM this PRECEDENT take Place ! 

Tell, whar you call your OWN B'a 1 
MAGNA CHARTA in Difgrace 1 

Your Sub/lance now, all flown Sir ! 
No more Aiall Peers now iryyeur Caufe \ 

That Time is now all over !' 
What need have we pray now of Zows I 

Now Right h Wwg in Two- 1 



glass act remains yet to be mentioned. The colonists had 
objected to the Stamp Act because it was understood that 
the revenue from it was to be devoted to keeping an army 
among them. They were also unalterably opposed to any 
system by which revenue raised from them was to be 
turned generally into the English exchequer. The paint, 
paper, and glass act was intended to obviate both of these 
objections. The revenue raised from it was to be spent 
entirely on the colonies themselves in maintaining among 
them civil government and the administration of justice. 
There was to be a colonial civil list, as it was called, and 
hereafter all governors, judges, and other colonial executive 
officials were to receive fixed salaries paid by the crown 
out of the revenue raised by the duties on paint, paper, 
glass, and tea. The old system of the assemblies securing 
the passage of their favorite laws by withholding the gov- 
ernor's salary, and of controlling the judges in the same 
way, was to cease. There was to be no more bargain and 
sale legislation; but in place of it orderly, methodical, 
regular government. 

This, as previously shown, struck at the root of what 
the colonists considered their system of freedom. If they 
could no longer control governors and executive officials 
through their salaries, they could no longer have their 
favorite laws. They would become mere colonies, com- 
pelled to take what was given to them and to do as they 
were told. 

The first man to come forward with a popular and en- 
couraging statement of the colonist side of the controversy 
was John Dickinson, a young man of thirty-five, a Quaker, 
and a lawyer of considerable practice in Philadelphia. He 
had been for some years more or less concerned in politics ; 
had been a member of the Stamp Act Congress, and had 
drafted several of its documents. 


He seems to have understood that the arguments thus 
far published were too brief and general. There was not 
enough of detail in them. The aggressive or patriot party 
among the colonists needed more light and were not suffi- 
ciently aroused. He accordingly wrote for one of the 
newspapers a series of " Letters from a Farmer/' which 
accomplished his purpose most admirably. They awoke 
the colonists with a bound. The title was also fortunate, 
for the farmers were by far the largest and most important 
class in the community. 

His opening sentence was captivating. "I am a 
farmer," he said, e( settled after a variety of fortunes near 
the banks of the Delaware in the province of Pennsyl- 
vania," His farm was small, his servants few and good ; 
he had a little money at interest ; he asked for no more. 

There were twelve of these letters by Dickinson pub- 
lished in the Pennsylvania Chronicle between December 
2, 1767, and February 15, 1768. They were quickly 
copied in most of the other colonial newspapers, reprinted 
in pamphlet form in numerous editions in America and 
England, and translated in Fraucc. They caused the 
greatest excitement among our people. Town meetings, 
societies, and grand juries sent votes of thanks to the 
author. They toasted him at public dinners, and wrote 
poems and eulogies in his honor. At the same time we 
must remember that these letters were also attacked as 
going entirely too far and " calculated to excite the pas- 
sions of tiie unthinking." * 

They enlarged in detail on the danger of losing control 
of the salaries of the governors. They showed the full 
meaning of Parliament's suspension of the legislative 
power of New York. They showed that if Parliament 
could suspend the functions of a colonial legislature, it was 
* "Life and Writings of Dickinson," vol. ii. p. 280. 


omnipotent in its control of the colonies. Dickinson was 
bold enough to answer the argument that England was 
too powerful to be resisted. It is also significant that he 
describes as a warning to the colonists how Ireland had 
lost her liberties. 

He took the new ground of rejecting all authority of 
Parliament, and at the same time tried to make it appear 
that there was no change from the old line of argument. 
He kept all the old arguments going, so as to conceal the 
new movement. He clung to the old absurdity of allow- 
ing Parliament to regulate the commerce of the colonies 
by duties which should not be for revenue. This effort to 
conceal the change of ground renders a great deal of his 
reasoning very obscure to a modern reader.* But the 
patriot party understood him- Englishmen also under- 
stood his purpose and saw what was coming, f 

In this same year, 1768, more strenuous efforts than 
ever were made to suppress smuggling. On June 10 
there was the riot over the seizure of the sloop " Liberty." 
In September men-of-war and transports loaded with 
troops arrived in Boston to keep order. The British 
officials in the colony had asked for these troops.J By 
September 30 Boston Common was covered with tents, 
and about fourteen men-of-war lay in the harbor, with 

* Franklin, who was in England at the time, was puzzled by 
this obscurity. "I know not what bounds the farmer sets to the 
power he acknowledges in Parliament to regulate the trade of the 
colonies, it being difficult to draw lines between duties for regulating 
and those for revenue ; and, if Parliament is to be the judge, it seems 
to me that establishing such principles of distinction will amount to 
little. 33 "Life and Writings of Dickinson," vol. ii. p. 281. 

f Critical Review, xxvi. 62; "Life and Writings of Dickinson," 
vol. ii. p. 282. 

f The loyalists said that citizens also asked for them. " The Con- 
duct of the Late Administration examined," p. 53, et passim. 


springs on their cables, and their broadsides covering the 

The position was serious and very peculiar; for, as 
Franklin said in his criticism on Dickinson's Letters, the 
Boston people were in their resolutions and documents 
acknowledging subordination to Parliament and at the 
same time denying its power to make laws for them. 

The year 1769 opened with Parliament declaring in 
both speeches and resolutions that the colonies were in a 
state of disobedience to law and government, adopting 
measures subversive of the constitution and disclosing an 
inclination to throw off all obedience to the mother-coun- 
try. This was unquestionably a true description of the 
situation ; and I cannot see that any good purpose is served 
by obscuring or denying it by means of those passages in 
the documents of the colonists in which they declare their 
" heartfelt loyalty" to Great Britain, disclaim all intention 
of independence, and acknowledge the supreme authority 
of Parliament. Those fulsome expressions deceived no one 
at that time, and why should they be used to deceive the 
guileless modern reader ? The patriot party made many 
such prudent statements, which were merely the nets and 
mattresses stretched below the acrobat in case he should fall. 

We find Parliament in this year directing that the 
governor of Massachusetts obtain " the fullest information 
touching all treason or misprision of treason within his 
government since the 30th day of December, 1767, in 
order, as the instruction went on to say, that his Majesty 
might have such offences tried within the realm of England, 
according to the statute passed in the thirty-fifth year of 
the reign of Henry VIII. 

The meaning of this, in plain English, was that a col- 
onist suspected or accused of treason must not be tried 
in the colonies where any jury that could be called would 


probably acquit him as a matter of course. It seemed 
better to take him to England and try him there in the 
calm and impartial light of regular British administration. 
This measure filled the patriotic party in the colonies with 
the most violent indignation. They denounced it in every 
form of language ; and although no one was ever taken to 
England to be tried, it was enumerated in the Declaration 
of Independence as one of the causes of separation. 

It was natural that our people, who, under the restraining 
power of France, had eujoyed so much liberty that they 
scarcely understood what a colony was, should be indig- 
nant at this suggestion of transporting them for trial. 
On the other hand, the ministry wished to establish British 
authority in the so-called colonies ; the law of Henry VIII. 
was on the statute-book ; it had been used several times ; 
the Scotch rebels had been tried out of the country in 
which their crimes were committed ; so, also, the Sussex 
smugglers and the murderers of Mr. Park, the governor 
of the "Windward Islands. 

It afterwards also seemed necessary to prevent the 
colonists from trying in their courts British officials who 
might be accused by them of murder, when in their official 
capacity they were suppressing riots. They would be 
convicted as a matter of course. Provision was therefore 
made for taking such officials to England, or to another 
and more peaceable colony, for trial. This measure, like 
the other, was never enforced, but vigorously denounced 
by our people. There were no trials for treason in the 
Revolution, although England was on the verge of it 
several times. 

Meantime, the non-importing associations were revived, 
in the hope that they would be as successful as they had 
been with the Stamp Act ; and we notice now for the first 
time that force and intimidation were used to compel mer- 


chants and others to join these associations and refrain from 
importing. Thus the year 1769 wore away until Novem- 
ber, when, before the non-importation agreements had had 
any great effect, the extraordinary and unexpected news 
was received that the Tory ministry had of their own 
accord decided to repeal the duties on paint, paper, and 
glass and leave only the duty on tea.* 

In the spring they had been denouncing the colonial 
rebellion and preparing to punish traitors. In the autumn 
they had eaten their own words, and in effect complied 
with the request of the rebels. The small duty on tea 
was left standing merely to show that the right to tax 
remained, just as the Declaratory Act had been passed when 
the Stamp Act was repealed. This duty on tea would also, 
it was believed, be a test of the real sentiments of the 
colonists, and show whether or not they were bent on 
rebellion and independence under any pretext. 

During the following winter this promise of repeal was 
promptly fulfilled. The duties on paint, paper, and glass 
were repealed, and the ministry even went farther and 
abandoned all attempt to compel the colonists to pay for 
their defence or to maintain the troops stationed among 
them. What could have been more gracious, more friendly, 
or more conciliatory than this ? I cannot agree with those 
writers, both American and English, who hold that a con- 
ciliatory policy would have saved the colonies to England. 

We must remember that on this occasion Lord Hills- 
borough officially informed all the colonial governors that 
the ministry " entertained no design to propose to Parlia- 
ment to lay any further taxes on America for the purpose 

* Eamsay, " American Revolution," Trenton edition, 1811, p. 110 j 
Byerson, "American Loyalists,' 7 vol. i. p. 301; Hildreth, "United 
States," edition of 1880, vol. ii. p. 653; Bancroft, "United States," 
edition of 1883, vol. iii. p. 362, 


of raising a revenue." This was in strict compliance 
with the colonial argument and with Dickinson's " Letters 
from a Farmer/ 3 that what America objected to was " tax- 
ation for the purpose of raising a revenue." The ministry 
had abandoned the revenue and abandoned the compulsory 
maintenance of the army. They could hardly have done 
more unless they had declared England the colony and 
America the mother-country. The colonies were put 
back very nearly into the old condition that prevailed 
before 1763. 

Lord Hillsborough's promise that no more taxes should 
be laid on the colonies was faithfully kept. The British 
Parliament never passed another taxing act ; and, when 
five years later actual warfare began, no one could say that 
the promise had been broken, for there had not been even 
an attempt to pass such an act. 

When we seek to discover why the Tory ministry made 
this sudden change, which was in effect an adoption of 
the "Whig policy and Whig methods, we find that they 
had discovered that the new duties would not produce 
16,000 per year, and that the military expenses in the 
colonies had increased to more than ten times that sum. 
The paint, paper, and glass duties being therefore a failure 
and an expense, causing great irritation, and England 
being already oppressed with debt, the ministry wished to 
compromise with the colonists and settle the dispute in a 
friendly way. They had been divided on the question, 
and, after long discussion of their differences, settled them 
in favor of the colonists. 

If we seek still farther to explain this change of front, 
we may account for it, as a great deal of subsequent con- 
ciliation or vacillation may be accounted for, by the fear of 
France, Her shadow was appearing. She was again 
coming on the scene. The colonists were threatening to 


appeal to her ; and the Boston Gazette of September 20, 
176S ; had openly made the threat.* Even without the 
threat it was obviously France's policy to take advantage 
of any open rupture or difficulty that England might have 
with the colonies. France wished to revenge her humilia- 
tion in 1763 and cripple England's power as an empire. 
This fear paralyzed all of England's action. It was an 
underlying influence of debates in Parliament and consul- 
tations of ministers. England must avoid if possible the 
forcing of the dispute to that extremity. 

But whatever may be the reasons, the important fact 
remains that in this year 1770 Great Britain withdrew 
the two great colonial grievances, taxation for revenue, 
and compulsory support of a standing army; and this 
event should not be obscured or placed in the background 
of historical narratives merely because it does not show 
sufficient tyranny or oppression on the part of England. 

The first and most important consequence of this concil- 
iation was that among the patriot or rebel party England's 
prestige was gone forever. She had lost much of her pres- 
tige and vastly encouraged that party when she repealed 
the Stamp Act at its dictation ; and now she had given the 
finishing stroke, f 

England, of course, lost no prestige among the people 
afterwards called loyalists, people un-Americanized, in- 
clining strongly towards England by taste and associations, 
and not inspired with the passion for ownership of the 
country in which they lived. These people accepted the 
repealing act in the spirit in which it was offered, as 
redressing grievances and tending to secure the colonies 
within the empire. 

So very conciliatory was the repealing act and the prom- 

* Holmes, Annals," vol. ii. pp. 177, 178. 

t " Letters of James Murray, Loyalist," p. 170. 


ise of the ministry, that it had a quieting effect on all par- 
ties and put an end to excitement and turmoil for three or 
four years. The moderates in the patriot party were willing 
to let well enough alone, and the small duty on the one 
item of tea did not bother them any more than the old 
Declaratory Act. In truth, the extreme radicals of the 
Samuel Adams type had nothing with which to arouse the 
moderates. The agitation business was at a low ebb. 

Within a few months, however, an accident occurred 
which could be used, and was used for a time, for purposes 
of excitement. It was one of those accidents which, in 
strained relations between independent nations, often pre- 
cipitate a war. 

The ministry had not thought it a necessary part of 
conciliation to withdraw the troops from Boston ; and it is 
difficult to see how they could properly have withdrawn 
them. The lives of the customs officials in that town 
had been threatened by the mobs, and were not safe ; and 
the troops and war-vessels had been asked for, and sent, 
for the purpose of protecting those officials as well as to 
assist them in enforcing the navigation laws. 

The ministry could not very well abandon the enforce- 
ment of those laws. They had decided to stop smuggling, 
and had started to stop it. They could hardly draw back 
from that undertaking without surrendering completely to 
the colonists and abandoning the little that remained of 
British authority in America. Moreover, the colonists had 
admitted that such laws regulating trade were constitu- 

The contest and the strained relations were now confined 
to Boston. The rest of the colonies were quiet and had 
no particular grievance; and the contest itself had now 
returned to the old subject of smuggling. 

The soldiers in Boston were extremely irritating; not 



only because they were swaggering and offensive after the 
British manner, but because Massachusetts was entirely- 
unaccustomed to anything of that sort. If she had always 
been a real colony, accustomed to supervision, her people 
might have treated the military occupation as a small 
matter. British colonies often have considerable bodies of 
troops stationed in them. In our own time in Canada we 
have often seen the people quietly acquiescing in the pres- 
ence of the red-coated regiments which caused such frenzy 
in Massachusetts. But Massachusetts had at one time en- 
joyed semi-independence, and the presence of troops to 
enforce laws which she had disobeyed for a hundred years, 
and grown rich through disobeying, was almost unbear- 
able. Her people felt towards those troops very much as 
they would feel to-day if Boston were occupied by a foreign 

It was naturally to be expected that anything like ill- 
conduct by the soldiery would be exaggerated by the 
people and used by the patriot leaders to stimulate their 
resentment. There is no question that some of the more 
radical and fiery spirits were constantly exciting the towns- 
people to quarrel with the soldiers. Both men and boys 
made a constant practice to insult the ^ bloody-backs," or 
" scoundrels in red," as they called them ; and they would 
shout at them, " lobsters for sale." The soldiers in their 
turn had their insults for the " mohairs," or " dung-hill 
tribe," as they called the colonists. The soldiers were 
often arrested by the local magistrates, whom we may be 
sure were not lenient with them and the colonists com- 
plained that the officers screened their men from punish- 

On the 2d of March, 1770, a soldier asking for employ- 
ment at Gray's rope-walk was refused in. coarse language. 
He insisted on having a boxing-match with one of the 


workmen, and was beaten. He returned with some com- 
panions and was driven off, and a larger number coming 
to fight with clubs and cutlasses were also driven off. On 
the night of the 5th there was much disturbance in the 
streets ; the soldiers were swaggering and threatening, and 
the citizens and boys replying to them in language equally 
abusive. The mob, armed with clubs, balls of ice, and 
stones inside of snow-balls, finally pressed upon a picket 
guard of eight men, daring them to fire. The soldiers 
restrained themselves for some time, until one, receiving a 
blow, fired his musket, and immediately six of the others 
fired. Three citizens were killed and eight wounded.* 

There was at once great excitement in the town. The 
bells were rung; the cry was spread, "The soldiers are 
rising," and many believed that a general attack by the 
citizens on the soldiery was narrowly averted. The next 
day a town meeting was called. A committee, of which 
Samuel Adams was chairman, urged Governor Hutchinson 
to remove all the soldiers from the town to preserve the 
peace and prevent an attack by the people, who would 
soon be swarming in from the country. After some hesi- 
tation Hutchinson agreed that the soldiers should be sent 
down the harbor to the castle. This was, from one point 
of view, a wise and creditable expedient to prevent vio- 
lence. But we must also remember that it was a yielding 
on the part of England to the demands of the colonists, 
with the redoubtable rebel Sam Adams at their head. 

The captain of the guard and the eight men had been 
immediately arrested. They were turned over to the civil 
authorities of the colony, regularly tried, defended by John 

*John Adams, "Works, vol. ii. p. 229; Ramsay, "Colonial His- 
tory," vol. i. pp. 364, 365 ; Holmes, " Annals," vol. ii. pp. 166, 167 ; 
Hildreth, u History of the United States," vol. ii. chap. xxix. pp. 554, 


Adams and Josiah Quincy, and the captain and six of the 
men acquitted. The remaining two were brought in guilty 
of manslaughter, and slightly punished. This trial re- 
flected the greatest credit not only on the jury, but on 
Adams and Quincy, who were patriot leaders; and the 
verdict of the jury showed that the soldiers had not been 
seriously to blame. But most of the patriot party seized 
upon the occurrence for their own purposes. They called 
it the " Boston Massacre," and Paul Ecvere prepared a 
colored engraving of the scene, calling it the " Bloody 
Massacre." They exaggerated it into a ferocious and un- 
provoked assault by brutal soldiers upon a defenceless peo- 
ple, and the eagerness with which this exaggeration was 
encouraged showed whither events were tending. 

The evidence taken at the trial has been published,* and 
contains all we really know about the event. It is worth 
reading as an astonishing revelation of the times, the anger 
and resentment of a large part of the people, the torrents 
of abuse and slang that were exchanged, the hatred of Eng- 
land and English control, and the readiness to destroy any 
symbol of that control. After reading the description by 
the witnesses of that night in Boston, one sees that the 
American communities could never be turued into modern 
colonies by the conciliatory policy, or any policy except 
some sort of extermination. 

The government had been most lenient in surrendering 
the guard to be tried by a jury of colonists and in remov- 
ing the troops from Boston, so that the " massacre" could not 
at that time be worked up into rebellion. The government 
had certainly not acted harshly. Ou the contrary, there 

* "The Trial of the British Soldiers of the Twenty-ninth Regi- 
ment of Foot for the Murder," etc., Boston, 1807. It reveals a great 
deal of local color, and discloses to us the Boston street boy of that 


had been so much yielding that the two regiments that 
had been sent out of Boston were ever afterwards ridiculed 
in England as the " Sam Adams regiments." 

The colonists quieted down. John Adams retired from 
politics and devoted himself to his profession. Except for 
the partially successful attempts to repress their smuggling, 
the people were very much in the same semi-independent 
condition as before the French "War. The slight tax on 
tea, which had been left partly to show that Parliament 
was the supreme power and partly as a test to see how 
rebellious the colonists were, worked well enough, because 
the colonists did not mind it ; and continued to smuggle 
tea from Holland. 

There were strong indications that possibly the American 
problem had been settled, and that the colonies would remain 
colonies of the old smuggling kind, disregarding such laws 
as failed to please them. Violent efforts were made by the 
more radical to keep up the non-importation associations, 
but without success. One by one the Southern colonies 
and then Pennsylvania and the New England colonies and 
New York began importing all English commodities ex- 
cept tea. The protest which the extreme patriots made 
against this is instructive as showing the condition of par- 
ties. They declared that the spirit of liberty was dead. 
The students at Princeton, among whom was James Madi- 
son, put on black gowns, and Lynch, of South Carolina, 
is said to have shed tears over what he deemed the lost 

This state of quietude lasted three years, to the great 
annoyance of men like Samuel Adams, who were bent on 
absolute independence. But most of the patriots were con- 
tent that they could repeal acts of Parliament and order 
British troops out of a town. 



BEFORE the passage of the paint, paper, and glass act 
tea had been taxed on its arrival in England at the high 
rate of a shilling per pound. When any of the tea was 
shipped from England to the colonies, the colonists, of 
course, paid this tax in the enhanced price of the tea. 
Hutchinson, the governor of Massachusetts, suggested that 
all colonial taxation be made in that way, the tax levied 
and collected before the goods left England, which would 
be as external as it was possible to make a tax, and the 
colonists might be persuaded not to call it taxation. 

This expensive tea, which paid a shilling per pound 
duty in England, did not trouble the colonists, because 
they smuggled all the tea they wanted from Holland. It 
was in the hope of breaking up this smuggling and en- 
couraging the sale of English tea that Parliament, in the 
paint, paper, and glass act, struck off the shilling duty, 
and on all tea sent to the colonies placed a duty of only 
threepence per pound to be paid in the colonial ports. 
Thus the colonists would pay nine cents per pound less 
tax, the sale of tea from English provinces in the far East, 
and especially the tea of the great East India Company, 
would be promoted, the immoral smuggling of the Ameri- 
cans checked, and everybody made happy. 

Some of this threepence-per-pound tea seems to have 
been imported and the duty paid. But because the duty 
was a direct tax, associations or clubs were formed whose 
members agreed not to drink it. Merchants were ap- 
plauded for net importing it, and encouraged to smuggle 


the Holland tea, and the smuggling, being very profitable, 
was regularly and extensively practised.* 

There was, therefore, every reason why the patriots 
should be content for the present ; for they were success- 
fully defeating England and the tea act by their old 
methods, and their merchants were growing rich by smug- 
gling. The loyalists afterwards said that the trifling tea 
tax would soon have become obsolete, and some liberally 
inclined ministry would have repealed it. Colonial taxa- 
tion had been abandoned, was dying a natural death,f and 
harmony was returning, they said, if both England and 
the Americans would only be careful and forbearing. 

But the harmony that was returning could only be con- 
tinued by letting the colonies alone, and, as they increased 
in population and wealth, letting them pass more and 
more into absolute independence. The colonists were now 
quiet, because British authority was imestablished among 
them ; it had been defied and beaten ,- the remodelling 
begun some seven years before had failed ; and even smug- 
gling could not be suppressed. Could England endure this 
state of affairs and allow it to drift into absolute separa- 
tion ? Wedderburn is reported to have said in Parlia- 
ment at this time that the colonies were already lost to the 

The government could not refrain from discussing the 
" disorders in America," and attempting some slight reme- 
dies, especially in that hot-bed of sedition, Massachusetts. 
It was decided, as a first step, that the crown should pay 
the salaries of the governor and judges. It seemed also 

* Brake, ' Tea-Leaves, " pp. 193, 196, 201 ; Hutchinson, " History 
of Massachusetts," vol. iii. pp. 331, 332, 351, 422; "Free Thoughts 
on the Proceedings of the Continental Congress," p. 10, New York, 

fRyerson, "American Loyalists," vol. i. p. 371 ; Hutchinson, 
"History of Massachusetts," vol. iii, p. 331. 


well for the present to ignore or suspend that provision in 
the Massachusetts charter which provided that all troops, 
even the regulars, should be under the control of the gov- 
ernor. It seemed better to place such troops under a 
military officer, who could more properly decide whether 
they should be moved here or there as i( Sam Adams" or 
a rebel committee might direct. 

A great deal has been written on this violation of the 
charter of Massachusetts. It is useless to debate the 
question. If you are an Englishman, and believe indepen- 
dence a crime, and that the colonies should have been saved 
from independence, you will see in this violation merely a 
military or British necessity. If you are a patriot, and 
believe independence and self-government to be natural 
rights, you will see in the violation an atrocious crime. 

The practical question was how far this sort of thing 
might go before it would produce an outbreak. The pa- 
triot party was quiet, but very inflammable. Its radical 
leaders were hard at work. Samuel Adams began to carry 
out his idea of organizing the rebellion by means of com- 
mittees of correspondence, at first among the Massachu- 
setts towns ; afterwards throughout the country. We find 
the Boston Gazette of November 2, 1772, threatening 
that, unless " their liberties are immediately restored," they 
" will form an independent commonwealth." By the sys- 
tem of correspondence among the patriots town committees 
and various bodies were drawing up lists of the laws Eng- 
land must repeal and the positions from which she must 
recede. She must withdraw even the right to tax ; and 
they went on enumerating every objection, great and 
small, until their lists were in effect a complete denial of 
British sovereignty. They were ordering the British gov- 
ernment off the continent. 

In June, 1772, the revenue cutter " Gaspec" was seized 


in Narragansett Bay by the people of Rhode Island and 
burned. The lieutenant of this cutter had been trying to 
enforce the revenue laws. Like other officers on the 
coast, he found it very difficult to catch any one in the act 
of smuggling. He seized the property of people who were 
suddenly found to be innocent; and he acted altogether 
very indiscreetly in the opinion of the people of Rhode 
Island. But the method adopted of repressing him, by 
seizing and burning one of the king's ships, did not 
strike the British government as the sort of conduct to be 
expected of a dependency. A commission was sent to 
Providence to inquire into the matter ; and there was talk 
of sending colonists to England to be tried ; but nothing 
was done ; no severe measures taken. It is difficult to see 
how the government could have been more conciliatory 
and forbearing. They professed to believe that such 
outrages were brought about by "the artifices of a 

England might have refrained still longer from forcing 
an outbreak, if that great corporation, the East India 
Company, had not brought a pressure on the government 
which could not be resisted. The company was at that 
time in a bad condition, and was generally supposed to 
be bankrupt. Its stock was rapidly depreciating, and the 
fall of such a vast concern would precipitate a financial 
panic. In fact, the great company had already sunk so 
low that the panic was thought to have begun. Firms 
were going bankrupt, and merchants, manufacturers, and 
traders suffering. It seemed quite absurd to Englishmen, 
that the company could not sell its tea in colonies that 
belonged to England, while Holland sold in those colo- 
nies thousands of pounds of tea every year. There was, 
in fact, laid up in warehouses in England seventeen mil- 
lion pounds of the East India Company's tea for which 


there was no demand, because of the smuggling practices 
of those dreadful American colonists. 

The East India Company and the government were 
closely allied. The company, besides paying into the 
exchequer 400,000 per year, was really a branch of the 
government for the control of India ; and it afterwards 
became merged in a department of the government. Ac- 
cordingly the ministry made an arrangement with the 
company which to them seemed quite reasonable. 

The East India Company's tea had to pay duty on its 
arrival in England ; but three-fifths of this duty was re- 
mitted or drawn back, as the expression was, when the tea 
was exported to the colonies. It was now proposed that 
all of this duty should be remitted on exportation to 
America, so that the East India Company could undersell 
the tea which the colonists smuggled from the Dutch. 
Accordingly an act of Parliament was passed, May 10, 
1773, remitting the duty, and the East India Company 
freighted ships with tea to Boston, New York, Philadel- 
phia, and Charleston. 

Looked at in cold blood, it was a rather amusing and 
very English device for helping out the bankrupt com- 
pany, coaxing the colonists to accept English taxed tea, 
and, if possible, stopping by ingenuity the smuggling 
that could not be stopped by revenue-cutters, boards of 
commissioners, troops, and men-of-war. It was so far 
from being tyrannous and cruel that it was pitiable; 
pitiable for a proud nation to bo reduced to such straits. 

The colonists had the whole summer and most of the 
autumn of 1773 to think over the matter, for the tea- 
ships did not begin to arrive until November. The 
patriots in all the colonies were determined that the 
tea should not be sold. They wished also to prevent it 
being landed, for, if landed, the duty of threepence per 


pound might be paid and the plan of the king and the 
ministry would be partially successful. 

There was now an opportunity for agitation, and the 
radical leaders bestirred themselves. The committees of 
correspondence worked upon the people all over the 
country. Some of the newspapers openly advocated inde- 
pendence. The attacks upon the East India Company as 
a soulless corporation and an inhuman monopoly remind 
us of the language of our own times. 

If such a company, it was said, once got a foothold in 
America, it would trade in other articles besides tea, and 
drive American merchants out of business. A printed 
handbill* was circulated in Pennsylvania describing the 
company's shocking deeds of plunder and cruelty in India, 
and arguing that it would overwhelm America with the 
same rapacity and slaughter that had been inflicted on the 
unfortunate East Indians. Franklin's old friend, the 
Bishop of St. Asaph, prepared a speech for the House of 
Lords, denouncing the government for turning loose upon 
the Americans a corporation with such a record of blood- 
shed and tyranny. 

It was at this time that Samuel Adams and the more 
ardent patriots took the next step in their plan, and sug- 
gested a union of all the colonies in a congress. The 
Boston Gazette had been openly suggesting independence 
for over a year. It now demanded a "Congress of 
American States to frame a bill of rights," or to " form an 
independent state, an American common wealth/'f All this 
was treason, under English law, and in a modern English 
colony would be severely punished and repressed. The 

* It was addressed " To the Tradesmen and Mechanics of Pennsyl- 
vania. ' J Copies are now rare. The one I have examined is in the 
collection of JVtr. Joseph Y. Jeanes, of Philadelphia. 

f Hosmer, ct Life of Samuel Adams,'' p. 238. 


boldness and impunity with, which it was done show the 
effect of the conciliatory policy and the weakness of Eng- 

Some of the patriots of the type of Gushing, of Massa- 
chusetts, or Reed and Dickinson, of Pennsylvania, advo- 
cated caution. We were not yet strong enough, not 
sufficiently united or sufficiently numerous, for a dash for 
independence. But Samuel Adams would have no delay. 
He was for forcing a conflict ; striking at once ; for, said 
he, " when our liberty is gone, history and experience will 
teach us that an increase of inhabitants will be but an 
increase of slaves." 

The majority of the patriots were apparently for moder- 
ation, and had they had their way this episode would 
have been tided over. Their plan was quietly to prevent 
the landing and payment of duty on the tea ; send it all 
back to England, and thus show that the tea act, the last 
remnant of the taxation system begun eight years before, 
was a failure. The act would then soon be repealed and 
taxation never again be attempted. It must be confessed 
that there were plausible reasons for supposing that this 
plan might have accomplished peaceful independence. 
"Our natural increase in wealth and population," said 
Gushing, " will in a course of years settle this dispute in 
our favor." 

On the other hand, Samuel Adams and the radicals had 
strong grounds for believing that the course of years 
would not necessarily bring independence without a war 
to settle it. England would not finally recognize the 
absolute independence of the colonies without fighting. 
No nation had ever done so. The inherent right of a 
naturally separated people to be independent according to 
the rights of man, might be just and sound, but no nation 
has as yet recognized its justice. As there must be a 


fight, it was better, the radicals thought, to have it now at 
once while our people were hot and England was so weak.* 
England might settle the taxation question satisfactorily, 
and in the future settle the smuggling question, and be 
so conciliatory that the mass of people, no matter how 
numerous they became, would forget the past and be con- 
tent to live along under an easy yoke or with a sort of 

The extravagant and even bombastic rhetoric that was 
used in speeches and resolutions to stir the people out of 
this easy frame of mind was commented on by English 
writers like Dean Tucker as showing not only the bad 
taste and vulgarity of the Americans, but the insincerity 
of the independence movement. 

The tea-ships which came to Charleston, Philadelphia, 
and New York were handled by the moderate patriots. 
The Charleston ship arrived December 2. The con- 
signees were induced to resign; but nothing more was 
done. The twenty days expired ; the tea was seized by 
the customs officers and offered for sale to pay the duty ; 
but no one would buy it ; it could not be sold, and was 
stored in damp cellars until useless. From the point of 
view of the moderate patriots this was a proper way of 
solving the difficulty. It was perfectly lawful ; there was 
no violence ; the British government could make no com- 
plaint, and yet the tea act, the duty, and the plan of the 
East India Company were killed as dead as Caesar. 

At Philadelphia, printed circulars, some of which are 
still preserved, were sent to all the Delaware Eiver pilots, 
reminding them in rather significant language not to bring 

* For several years the argument had "been insinuated that the 
weak, debt-ridden state of England had "been ordained in the provi- 
dence of God to give us a chance for independence. Hosmer, "Life 
of Samuel Adams," p. 134. 


any tea-ships up to the town, Nevertheless, a tea-ship got 
up the river as far as Chester. A town meeting was held 
and a committee went down to Chester to talk to the 
captain and the consignee. They used such well-chosen 
words that the next day the ship sailed down the river 
and returned to England.* 

In a similar way the consignees at New York resigned 
and sent the tea back ; and some tea that arrived at Ports- 
mouth, New Hampshire, was sent away to Halifax. But 
the three tea-ships which came into Boston harbor fell 
into the hands of Samuel Adams and his followers, and 
then the trouble began. 

The consignees in this case were five in number, in- 
cluding the two sons of Hutchinson, the governor, who, 
like their father, were devoted loyalists, believing in the 
supremacy of the British empire, and regarding American 
independence as a delusion and a crime. They would not 
resign. Town meetings were held upon them, committees 
visited them, violence was threatened, but they were firm. 
They did not, however, attempt to land the cargoes. The 
patriots placed a guard over the ships, and six horsemen 
held themselves ready to alarm the country towns. The 
radicals were determined to begin the active revolution at 
this point. 

The owners and the captains of the ships were willing 
to take the tea back to England, but the custom-house 
officers would not give the ships a clearance until they had 
discharged their tea. Governor Hutchinson gave instruc- 
tions that no ship should be allowed to pass the castle out- 
ward bound unless it had a permit, and he would not issue 
a permit unless the vessel first showed a clearance. Mean- 
while, during these disputes the twenty days were passing. 
Some patriots advised moderation, and there was a strong 
* Pennsylvania Magazine of History, vol. xv. p. 385. 

Delaware Mots. 

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loyalist minority. But the party of violence was in the 
ascendant ; the town was placarded with liberty posters ; 
riders were posting back and forth from the neighboring 
towns, and the country people were beginning to flock into 

The common statements in some of our histories that 
Governor Hutchinson was the vacillating and cowardly 
agent of tyranny are utterly without foundation. If he 
had been cowardly, he would have given the ships a per- 
mit, let them return to England, and thus have postponed 
the Revolution for another three or four years. He acted 
consistently with his own opinions and the conciliatory 
policy of the government. He abstained from any use of 
the men-of-war in the harbor or of the two " Sam Adams" 
regiments that were still down at the castle, where " Sam" 
had put them. He allowed the patriots themselves to guard 
the tea-ships. The war-ships or the soldiers could have 
taken possession of the tea-ships and prevented all that 
happened. But British sovereignty was on this occasion a 
mere spectator and visitor in its own dominions. 

The difficulty might have been settled as in Charleston, 
by allowing the customs officials to seize the tea at the end 
of the twenty days. No one would have had the temerity 
to buy it, and it would then have been stored till it rotted. 
In fact, the consignees offered to have it stored until they 
should receive instructions from the East India Company 
what to do with it. But Adams and his people were too 
hot to take such chances. They were planning an out- 
break, a truly Boston and Massachusetts outbreak which 
would be self-restrained, and yet sufficiently violent to force 
both England and America to an open contest on the one 
great question which lay beneath all the past eight years of 

They prepared everything for action on the night of the 


16th of December, because two days after that the twenty 
days' limit would expire on the " Dartmouth/' which had 
been the first ship to arrive. Seven thousand people filled 
the Old South Meeting House on that afternoon, while 
Hotch, the Quaker owner of the " Dartmouth/' drove out 
to Milton to Governor Hutchinson's country place, to ask 
him for a permit to pass the castle. Every one knew or 
felt confident that the permit would be refused ; so that 
this meeting cannot be called a deliberative one. 

Darkness came on, and still the meeting waited. At 
last Eotch returned, and made the formal announcement 
that the permit had been refused, Samuel Adams arose 
and gave the signal that had evidently been agreed upon : 
" This meeting can do nothing more to save the country." 

Immediately, as has been so often related, the warwhoop 
was hoard, or resounded, I believe, is the usual expression, 
outside the door. Some forty or fifty men, painted and 
disguised as Indians, and with hatchets in their hands, 
suddenly appeared from some place where they had been 
waiting, and rushed down to the tea-ships, directly en- 
couraged by Adams, Hancock, and the other patriots. 
The crowd formed around them as a protection, and posted 
guards about the wharf to prevent interference while the 
Indians worked with their hatchets. It is said that the 
vast crowd was perfectly silent, a most respectful Boston 
silence, and not a sound could be heard for three hours 
save the cracking of the hatchets on the chests of tea in 
all three ships.* 

At the end of that time every pound of tea was in the 

* There was not the slightest attempt by the governor, the fleet, or 
the army to interfere with the work of the mob. The admiral of the 
fleet is said to have stood in the street as the crowd returned, good- 
naturedly joked with them, and said that having had their sport they 
might soon have to pay the piper. 


water, and the proceedings, so like a great deal of our lynch 
law, were ended. It was a serious business for the people 
concerned ; but now that we are too far away to feel the 
seriousness it seems really comical. The most comical 
part of it was that the Indians claimed particular credit 
for not having injured any other property on the ships, and 
declared that " all things were conducted with great order, 
decency, and perfect submission to government." Our 
ancestors had a fine sense of humor. 

From the point of view of Samuel Adams, I suppose 
there never was a piece of liberty or revolutionary rioting 
that was so sagaciously and accurately calculated to effect 
its purpose, and not go too far. If it had been very 
violent disorder, or brutality, it might have alienated 
moderate or doubtful patriots whom it was important to 
win over. But it was so neat, gentle, pretty, and comical 
that to this day it can be described in school-books without 
much danger of the children at once seeing that it was a 
riotious breach of the peace, a lawless violation of the 
rights of private property, and an open defiance of govern- 
mental authority. In England, however, the violence of 
it was sufficiently apparent to break up for a time the con- 
ciliatory policy and to bring upon the Massachusetts colo- 
nists such punishment as the radical patriots hoped would 
arouse the fighting spirit.* 

It is possible that it was intended as an example which 
would be followed in one or two other colonies, and thus 
bring on a general punishment that would arouse them 
all; but that did not happen. It had no effect on the 

*Hosmer, " Life of Samuel Adams, p. 243; Hutchinson, "His- 
tory of Massachusetts," vol. iii. p. 423; Barry, Massachusetts," 
chap. xiv. ; Ranosay, " American Revolution," vol. i. chap, iii.; 
Holmes, " Annals, " vol. ii. p. 181; "The Origin of the American 
Contest with Great Britain," p. 39, New York, 1775. 



Philadelphians, who, more than a week afterwards, quietly 
and without any violence, sent their tea-ship back to Eng- 
land. The time on the Charleston ship expired December 
22, and they also, as we have shown, acted moderately. 
The British government could have nothing to say against 
the action of those colonies, and the whole punishment was 
directed against Massachusetts. 

It was a great event for Samuel Adams; and who 
was this Samuel Adams, who is so conspicuous in this 
part of the Revolution, and later on almost disappears 
from view? The portrait we have of him, which has 
often been reproduced, represents what would seem to 
be a stout, handsomely dressed, prosperous merchant, 
with a very firm chin and jaw, proud of his wealth 
and success, and proud of his long-tested ability in busi- 
ness. Unfortunately, the only part of this portrait which 
is true to life is that iron-like jaw. Samuel Adams was 
not a merchant, was seldom well dressed, was not at all 
proud, and never rich. He was always poor. He failed 
in his malting business, was unthrifty and careless with 
money, and had, in fact, no liking for, or ability in, any 
business except politics. He lived with his family in a 
dilapidated house on Purchase Street, and when in 1774 
he was elected a delegate to the Continental Congress at 
Philadelphia, his admirers had to furnish the money to 
make him look respectable. 

"However some may despise him, he has certainly very many 
friends. For not long since, some persons (their names unknown) 
sent and asked his permission to build him a new barn, the old one 
being decayed, which was executed in a few days. A second sent to 
ask leave to repair his house, which was thoroughly effected soon. 
A third sent to beg the favor of him to call at a tailor's shop, and be 
measured for a suit of clothes, and choose his cloth, which were finished 
and sent home for his acceptance. A fourth presented him with a 
new wig, a fifth with a new hat, a sixth with six pairs of the best silk 


hose, a seventh, with six pairs of fine thread ditto, an eighth -with six 
pairs of shoes, and a ninth modestly inquired of him whether his 
finances were not rather low than otherwise. He replied it was true 
that was the case, hut he was very indifferent about these matters, so 
that his poor abilities were of any service to the public j upon which 
the gentleman obliged him to accept a purse containing about fifteen 
or twenty Johannes. ' ' Hosmer, ' ' Life of Samuel Adams, ' ' p. 308. 

All this assistance Adams was not too proud to accept. 
He had long been engaged in small local politics, and when 
tax-collector had been short in his accounts and threatened 
with ruin.* The patriots, of course, forgave him this 
lapse, which was not repeated ; but Englishmen and loyal- 
ists never forgot it. "When coupled with his shiffclessness 
and shabbiness and the gifts of money and clothes to make 
him presentable in the Congress, it is easy to understand 
the indignation, contempt, and disgust which were enter- 
tained for him by those who were opposed to the rebellion. 
Such a disloyal and dishonest movement, they would say, 
naturally had a shabby rascal for its leader. 

On the other hand, Adams was a man of good education, 
and the public documents he prepared show considerable 
ability. His speeches, though at times somewhat turgid 
and violent, seem to have been well suited to their purpose. 
He was a most competent politician and a good organizer 
of agitation. He understood the temper of the people from 
the bottom up, and was so skilful in drawing the ship- 
caulkers into the revolution movement that some trace to 
this source the origin of our word caucus. An account of 
his language and advice to such people, to fight England, 
to " destroy every soldier that dare put his foot on shore," 
and that " we shall have it in our power to give laws to 
England," has been preserved, and by the English law it 
was pure treason, f 

* Hosmer, " Life of Samuel Adams," pp. 37-47, 240. 
f Ibid., p. 117. 


Adams had also a constitutional tremulousness of his 
head and hands, which did not improve loyalist opinion of 
him. He was one of those men whom we call a devoted 
and enlightened patriot, or slippery scoundrel, conspirator, 
and fanatic, according as we are on the side of the govern- 
ment or of the rebellion. His best ability was shown in 
agitation in the early stages of the Revolution, in attending 
to the small details of organization, while men of larger 
capacity were still partially absorbed in their business or 

That charmingly ingenuous statement that all the 
hatchet work on the tea-ships had been done " in perfect 
submission to government" had no mitigating effect in Eng- 
land. The destruction by a mob of over 15,000 worth 
of tea, the private property of the East India Company, 
awoke Parliament from its dream of conciliation. That 
the mob had been guided by respectable and wealthy men 
like Hancock, Molineaux, Warren, and Young, who pre- 
vented uproar and noise and enforced decency and order, 
made it all the worse in English eyes. Parliament and 
the ministry resolved at all hazards and at any cost to 
establish British sovereignty in America. Leniency and 
conciliation had been carried too far. 

January and February passed, and during March, 1774, 
Parliament debated the punishment that should be inflicted 
on Boston for this " unpardonable outrage," obviously lead- 
ing " the way to the destruction of the freedom of com- 
merce in all parts of America." If such an insult, it was 
said, had been " offered to British property in a foreign 
port, the nation would have been called upon to demand 
satisfaction for it." 

Two principal measures and two subsidiary or minor 
measures were decided upon. The first was that the town 
of Boston must be fined and pay damages for allowing 


private property to be destroyed by a mob within her 
limits. This was based on a legal principle recognized to 
this day in both England and America, that a county or 
town which fails to keep the peace is liable in damages to 
private individuals if their property is destroyed. In 
several instances in England towns had been fined for 
allowing individuals or their property to be injured. 
London had been fined in the time of Charles II., when 
Dr. Lamb was killed, Edinburgh in a similar instance, 
and part of the revenue of Glasgow had been sequestrated 
until satisfaction was made for the pulling down of Mr. 
Campbell's house. 

The question was, how could such a rebellious town as 
Boston be compelled to pay damages; how could she be 
fined? There was no use in beginning civil or penal suits 
in her courts, because no verdict against her could be ob- 
tained. More important still, how could security be ob- 
tained for the future " that trade may be safely carried on, 
property protected, laws obeyed, and duties regularly paid ?" 

All this, it was said, could be accomplished by closing 
Boston harbor by act of Parliament and the blockade of 
a fleet. No trading vessels and no commerce should pass 
in or out. The custom-house officials, "who were now 
not safe in Boston or safe no longer than while they 
neglected their duty," should be moved to Salem. This 
closing of the port of Boston should continue until Boston, 
by her own official act, paid for the 15,000 worth of tea 
she had allowed to be destroyed and reimbursed the cus- 
toms officials for damage done by the mobs in 1773 and 
January, 1774. "When the governor should certify that 
iids had been done and that the colony was peaceable and 
orderly, the blockade should be removed and the port 

* Annual Begister for 1774, vol. zvii. 


This measure was carried out by an act of Parliament 
known in history as the Boston Port Bill. Under this 
law the fleet and armed power of England for the first 
time in this long controversy did their work. The port 
was actually closed, and this was the first strong measure 
taken to establish British sovereignty. 

The patriot party refused to allow the town to pay any 
damages. They said that the town had no legal power to 
pay them.* They also refused to punish any of the dis- 
guised persons who had destroyed the tea. The names of 
these persons were known to many, and have been pub- 
lished^ but in 1774 they were well protected by their 

In order to keep our heads clear in considering these 
great events, we must remember that many of the Whigs 
and some of the best friends of the colonies in England, 
especially Colonel Barr6, their eloquent defender in Par- 
liament, were in favor of the Boston Port Bill as a just 
and proper punishment, in the interests of good order, for 
the unpardonable mob violence in destroying the cargoes 
of peaceful British merchant vessels. " I like it/' said 
Barr4, "adopt and embrace it for its moderation." 
Franklin also, it will be remembered, was always in favor 
of paying for the tea as a conciliatory step to bring about 
a peaceable settlement.^ 

Englishmen argued that if such acts as destroying the 
tea were allowed to go unpunished, British commerce would 
not be safe. The Boston people, they said, can easily escape 
from any hardships they suffer from the closing of their 
port by simply paying for the tea. The punishment is not 

* " Observations on the Act of Parliament commonly called the 
Boston Port Bill, 53 Boston, 1774. 
f Brake, " Tea-Leaves, J 7 pp. 84, 85. 
f "Works, Bigelow edition, vol. v. pp. 452, 454 ; vol. vii. p. 3. 


tyranny, because it is not intended to be perpetual. It will 
not last an hour after they make reparation. It all rests 
with themselves. It will last only until those who com- 
mitted the outrage have the honor and honesty to repair it. 

The patriots argued that the punishment included the 
innocent with the guilty, and punished the whole town for 
the acts of a few. It was absurd, they said, to ask Boston 
to pay for the tea, because by closing her port the town 
within a few weeks lost far more than the value of the tea. 
Instead of such wholesale punishment, the government 
should proceed in the regular way in the courts of law and 
obtain damages, if any were due. It would certainly have 
been rare sport for the patriots to see the government trying 
to obtain verdicts from Boston juries. 

The closing of the port was intended to be severe, and it 
was severe. Within a few weeks thousands of people 
were out of work and threatened with starvation. Would 
Boston be able to hold out indefinitely, or must she at last 
pay for the tea and the other damage in order to have her 
port and livelihood restored ? 

The people of the country districts rallied to her assist- 
ance and began sending in supplies of food. Soon this 
system spread to the other colonies ; provisions and sub- 
scriptions in money began streaming along all the colonial 
roads, even from far down in the Southern colonies. If 
this could be kept up England was beaten again ; for the 
patriot party in Boston would hold out against paying for 
the tea as long as it was possible. 

The supplies were continued for over a year.* But such 

*The loyalists, who were now beginning to "be heard from, objected 
to these supplies. Boston, they said, was becoming too important. 
Let her take care of herself. One of them complained that it seemed 
as if " G-od had made Boston for Himself,' and all the rest of the world 
for Boston. 77 "The Congress canvassed," p. 17, New York, 1774. 


a contest could not be kept up indefinitely. A break 
would have to come, and what that break should be 
depended on how much rebellion and independence Massa- 
chusetts could arouse in the other colonies. 

The second measure of punishment was an act of Par- 
liament accomplishing the long-threatened change in the 
Massachusetts charter, so that the colony could be held 
under control and prevented from rushing at its will to 
rebellion and independence. The change provided that the 
governor's council, heretofore elected by the legislative 
assembly, should be appointed by the crown; that the 
governor should appoint and remove at pleasure judges, 
sheriffs, and all executive officers ; that the judges' salaries 
should be paid by the crown instead of by the legislature ; 
that town meetings should be prohibited, except by permit 
from the governor ; that juries, instead of being elected by 
the inhabitants, should be selected by the sheriffs. 

This alteration of the charter was as fiercely denounced 
as the Port Bill, and the echoes of that denunciation are 
still repeating themselves in our history. But it did not 
go anything like so far as we ourselves have gone in gov- 
erning dependencies. It merely made Massachusetts more 
of a crown colony than she had been before; a sort of 
colony which still exists under the British system. There 
are to-day dependencies of Great Britain which have no 
better government than that which the alteration in the 
Massachusetts charter provided, and many that have less 
self-government than was left to Massachusetts. But 
compared with the semi-independence Massachusetts had 
once known, and the absolute independence she was seek- 
ing, this alteration was a punishment which set her patriot 
party furious with indignation. 

This alteration, this withdrawal of a part of self-govern- 
ment, said the supporters of the ministry, is only tempo- 


rary until reparation is made and peace established. 
William III., that great founder of liberty, once with- 
drew all self-government from both Maryland and Penn- 
sylvania without even an act of Parliament ; and George I. 
took the government of South Carolina into his own 

Two minor measures of punishment were adopted, a 
law providing that persons indicted by the colonists for 
murder in suppressing riots might be taken for trial to 
another county or to England ; and a law legalizing the 
quartering of troops on the inhabitants in the town of 
Boston. All these measures of punishment became laws 
before the first of April, and were put in force in June, 

Thoroughly aroused at last to the necessity of the most 
strenuous endeavors, Parliament at this same time passed 
the famous Quebec Act. There was supposed to be dan- 
ger that the French colonists in Canada might join the 
union that was forming to the south of them. Massachu- 
setts and the patriot party had as yet done nothing to secure 
the Canadians. It would be well, therefore, to cut off all 
chance of such action, and accordingly the Quebec Act 
gave to those French people their Roman Catholic religion 
established by law, and the French code of laws. 

That England should establish Romanism by law in any 
of her possessions was certainly an extraordinary occur- 
rence. The strong Protestant feeling in New England 
was outraged. The whole patriot party were indignant 
also, because this Quebec Act extended the boundaries of 
Canada down into the Ohio Valley, and established what 
was then considered an extremely arbitrary crown colony 
government of a governor and council appointed by the 

* "The Address of the People of Great Britain to the Inhabitants 
of America," p. 49, London, 1775. 


king, without any legislature or representation of the 
people, and without trial by jury.* The Quebec Act was 
given in the Declaration of 1776 as another reason for seek- 
ing independence. 

The Quebec Act has sometimes been described as a bold, 
sagacious piece of statesmanship which saved Canada to 
England. But it was unnecessary ; for, as we shall see, 
there was little or no chance of the Canadians joining the 
rebellious colonies ; and the act, which is still part of the 
Canadian Constitution, built up the power of an alien race, 
gave to their religion the control of the school fund and 
other privileges which have caused endless discord, and may 
in the end make Canada more French than English. 

Governor Hutchinson, of Massachusetts, immediately 
after the tea episode, obtained leave of absence to visit 
England, and never returned. General Gage, who had 
just returned from New York, was made civil governor 
of Massachusetts and commander-in-cbief of the British 
forces. He went out to Boston in June with four regi- 
ments, took possession of the town, and enforced the new 

The calculation of the British ministry was that these 
punishments would compel Massachusetts to submit ; or, 
if she openly rebelled, she would be isolated from the rest 
of the country, which would not care to countenance her 
violence and extreme proceedings. If, on the other hand, 
alone and unaided, she should persist in rebellion, that 
would give the opportunity to teach a lesson and crush 
her completely by force. 

It was a shrewd and wise calculation, and in nine cases 
out of ten would have been justified by events. Great 

* " The Other Side of the Question ; or, A Defence of the Liberties 
of North America, " p. 23, ]STew York, 1774 ; Hamilton, Works, Lodge 
edition, vol. i. p. 173. 


Britain has broken the independent, national spirit of not 
a few people by dividing them. It was a nice question, 
how far homogeneousness, the secret longing for indepen- 
dence and nationality, which was causing all this violence 
and law-breaking, had proceeded in the American colonies. 
Was it enough to bring them all, including the French in 
Canada, to the side of wounded, struggling Massachusetts? 

That daring, audacious colony cried aloud for aid. She 
did not submit ; she did not wait for the other colonies to 
repudiate her. She called on them for assistance. She 
demanded a congress of delegates from all of the colonies 
to consider her plight as a national question concerning 
them all. But the word " national" could not be used, for 
divers good reasons; so " continental" was used instead; 
and the congress is still known as the " Continental 

It assembled in Philadelphia, September 5, 1774; 
for there were people in all the colonies who sympathized 
with Massachusetts. In some way or other the rebellious 
ones in all the colonies except Canada, Georgia, and 
Florida managed to send representatives of their feelings 
and opinions. The mere fact of such a body assembling 
was a distinct menace to British sovereignty, and brought 
the inevitable conflict one step nearer. 

The loyalists complained that this congress was created 
in an irregular, one-sided manner, and could not be called 
representative. They ridiculed and denounced most un- 
sparingly the methods that were used. It was certainly 
not representative in the sense in which the word is 
usually understood. It was not chosen by a vote of the 
people at large. The delegates sent by Connecticut, by 
the New York counties, by New Jersey, and by Mary- 
land were chosen by the committees of correspondence 
without any vote of the people at large. These delegates 


were, therefore, merely the representatives of the patriot 
movement in those colonies. The loyalists, who were now 
beginning to increase in numbers, had no voice whatever. 
In Massachusetts, Ehode Island, and Pennsylvania the 
delegates were chosen by the legislative assemblies, which 
in those provinces happened to be more or less in control 
of the patriot party.* In Massachusetts, with the British 
army now strongly in control, loyalism was gaining 
ground, and it is not improbable that a reactionary dele- 
gation, if not a loyalist one, would have been sent had it 
not been for the shrewd tactics and rather violent proceed- 
ings of Samuel Adams. The description of his cautious 
manipulation, and final locking of the door and putting 
the key in his pocket, is most amusing, as well as a 
striking illustration of the way in which the delegates 
were chosen. f The delegation sent by the Pennsylvania 
Assembly was in many respects a moderate one, which 
afterwards had to be changed for one more in sympathy 
with radical patriotism. It contained one member, Joseph 
Galloway, who was a loyalist. Apparently it was not 
altogether safe to let an assembly send the delegates. 
The surer way was for the committees of correspondence 
to send them. 

The patriots of each colony, however, decided the ques- 
tion for themselves according to their circumstances, and 
seem to have known what they were about, for they were 
successful enough in every instance. South Carolina ap- 
pears to have sent her delegates by a general conven- 
tion of the white people of the province. These dele- 
gates were as stanch for patriotism as any that appeared. 
Either the loyalists were very few, or they were absent or 

* In Delaware the delegates were sent by a convention composed 
apparently of the members of the legislature. 
fHosmer, " Adams," pp. 290-297. 


passive. A few years afterwards they were very numerous, 
and seem to have constituted fully half the population of 
the province. In the town of !N~ew York a vote appears 
to have been taken by wards, but whether only among the 
patriot party, or generally, is not determined. In New 
Hampshire the towns appear to have appointed deputies 
who met together July 2 and chose the delegates to the 
Congress. The only instance where there seems to have 
been a chance for a perfectly free vote of all the people 
was in South Carolina, although there may have been a 
chance in New Hampshire and in the town of New York.* 

* " An Alarm to the Legislature of the Province of New York,' 7 
p. 4, New York, 1774; "The Congress canvassed," p. 10, !N"ew 
York, 1774 ; " A View of the Controversy between Great Britain and 
her Colonies," etc., pp. 7, 8, ISTew York, 1774 ; " Galloway's Exami- 
nation before Parliament, JJ p. 11 j Journal of Continental Congress, 
vol. i.j gives the certificates showing the method of appointment. 




WHILE the Congress is debating, it may be well to 
consider the point of development to which patriot opinion 
had now attained. They had abandoned their old distinc- 
tion between external and internal taxes, but they kept the 
empty form of it in their pamphlets, even when in the same 
pamphlet they were arguing that Parliament had no author- 
ity at all over the colonies. In abandoning the old dis- 
tinction, there was no place where they could stop short of 
denying all authority of Parliament. That was a serious 
undertaking, because they had to deny the validity not only 
of their own previous admissions, but also the validity of 
acts of Parliament under which they had been living for 
many generations. 

At the same time they must prove that in spite of all 
this they were still loyal, and this clinging to the old and 
the new makes a great deal of the reasoning in their pam- 
phlets obscure and confused until we have the key. "We 
must pardon them for this obscurity, because, if England 
chose to enforce her laws against treason, the course they 
were on might prove to be a hanging business. 

Nevertheless, in the year 1774 they were prepared for 
this supreme effort to get rid of Parliament entirely. 
Study and reflection culminated in that year. Both sides 
got down to bed-rock, and in this period we find the best 
and strongest pamphlets. They went so far that there was 
nothing more to be said. 

The argument by which the patriots professed to dispose 
entirely of all parliamentary authority, sweep out of exist- 


ence their own damaging admissions, and also appear in 
the light of " dutiful and loving children," was most ingen- 
uous. Even if Parliament, they said, had taxed and regu- 
lated the colonies internally, and the colonists themselves 
had solemnly admitted the right, yet, in reason and on 
principle, Parliament had no such right. Parliament's 
long course of conduct regulating colonial internal affairs 
was a usurpation. The colonies had not resisted that usur- 
pation ; had, perhaps, not even protested much against it, 
because there was not a great deal of it, and as the Conti- 
nental Congress put it, they " were too sensible of their 
weakness to be fully sensible of their rights." 

The colonial charters were now the great subject of dis- 
cussion, and the pamphleteers of both sides tore and 
worried at them like hungry dogs. These charters, the 
patriots said, contained words which cut off Parliament 
entirely from any control of those much-discussed internal 
affairs, or vital organs of the colonies. Some of the char- 
ters, they said, might at first appear non-committal, or 
seem to say nothing directly about the authority of Parlia- 
ment. But these non-committal ones often contained 
general expressions giving a great deal of vague authority to 
the colony or to its legislature ; and an attempt was made 
to show that authority so vague and general must be 
exclusive and imply an extinguishment of any rights of 

Queen Elizabeth's charter to Sir Walter Ealeigh gave 
him such vast prerogatives and privileges in America, was 
so sweeping and general, that it must have been intended to 
exclude the authority of Parliament. The first Virginia 
charter provided that the colony was to be ruled by such 
laws as the king should make, which necessarily excluded, 
it was said, the making of laws by Parliament. There 
was a clause which said that the colonists should have the 


same liberties in other British dominions " as if they had 
been abiding and born within our realm of England/' 
which showed that the colony was a territory outside of 
the realm, and therefore, inferentially, outside of all 
authority of Parliament. The second Virginia charter 
declared that all the colony's privileges were to be held 
of the king, which again excluded all authority of Parlia- 
ment. Indeed, such charters as those of Connecticut and 
Rhode Island, which gave such large privileges to the colo- 
nists, and spoke only of the colonists and the king with- 
out any mention of Parliament, seemed to exclude the 
authority of Parliament. 

Diligent students also found instances where the action 
of British officials, and even of Parliament itself, looked 
in the same direction. In April, 1621, a bill was intro- 
duced in Parliament for indulging British subjects with 
the privilege of fishing on the coast of America ; but the 
House was informed through the Secretary of State, by 
order of his Majesty, King James, that " America was not 
annexed to the realm, and that it was not fitting that Par- 
liament should make laws for these countries." 

This was certainly strong evidence, and supported all 
that had been said. The evidence became stronger still 
when they found that some years afterwards, in the reign 
of Charles I., the same bill was again proposed in Parlia- 
ment, and the same answer made that " it was unnecessary ; 
that the colonies were without the realm and the jurisdic- 
tion of Parliament."* 

These charters and the action of high officials seemed to 
show that in the early days Parliament had no authority 

* " The Fanner refuted ; or, A More Impartial and Comprehensive 
View of the Disputes, ;? etc., p. 27 ; Hamilton, Works, Lodge edition, 
vol. 1. pp. 53, 89; " An Address on Public Liberty in General and 
American Affairs in Particular,' 7 p. 17, London, 1774. 


whatever over the colonies ; could not tax them, and could 
not regulate their internal affairs in any way whatsoever. 
The colonies were, in short, outside the realm and to be 
controlled only by the king. 

There was one charter, however, that of Pennsylvania, 
granted in 1681, which looked the other way. It pro- 
vided in unmistakable language that the king would never 
levy any custom or tax on the inhabitants of the province 
except " with the consent of the proprietors, or chief gov- 
ernor or assembly, or by act of Parliament in England" 
That was a flat contradiction of the doctrine drawn from 
the other charters, and what could be done with it ? 

Pennsylvania could surely be taxed by Parliament as 
much as Parliament pleased ; and her people had no possi- 
ble excuse for their rebellion except to call it by its name 
and fight it out. Their pamphlets defending their conduct 
on the ground of legal right were palpably absurd, so far 
as themselves were concerned. 

The loyalist writers used this Pennsylvania clause with 
great effect. The patriot writers either ignored it alto- 
gether or, like young Hamilton, boldly declared that it 
was a mistake, and, being inconsistent with the other docu- 
ments, must be rejected. That was the only way to dispose 
of it, and, having done that, one might go on with the 

The king had originally granted the charters to the 
colonies because in the early times Parliament had no 
power to charter corporations. He had also given the 
colonists the title to the land they were to occupy in 
America, for Parliament had not then the right to grant 
away the public domain. He had also given the colonists 
permission to leave the realm, a permission which at that 
time could be granted only by the king. These facts 
showed, it was said, that the colonies were exclusively the 



king's property, and that Parliament had nothing to do 
with them. They were completely outside of its jurisdic- 
tion, and were to be ruled by the king alone. 

This meant no rule at all, because the king had now 
lost nearly all his old powers, which had been absorbed by 
Parliament. But this thread of attachment to the king 
was important to save the argument from being treason. 
It was, of course, much ridiculed by the loyalists as well 
as by people in England.* 

"Here we have a full view of the plan of the delegates of North 
America, which, when examined, appears to he that of absolute inde- 
pendence on the mother-state. But conscious that a scheme which 
has so great a tendency to the forfeiture of her rights, and so destruc- 
tive to her safety and happiness, could not meet with the approbation 
and support of the colonists in general, unless in some measure dis- 
guised, they have endeavored to throw a veil over it, by graciously 
conceding to the mother-state a whimsical authority, useless and 
impractical, in the nature. 77 " A Candid Examination of the Mutual 
Claims of Great Britain and the Colonies, 77 p. 27, New York, 1775. 

The argument was, in effect, that the colonies were inde- 
pendent in government and merely under the protecting 
influence of the king, who would keep foreign nations 
from interfering with them, a condition which in inter- 
national law is called a protectorate. They could not be 
brought into subjection to Parliament, because the king, 
as Edward Bancroft put it, "had a right to constitute 
distinct states in America," and had so constituted the 
colonies. "No power could unite them to the realm or to 

* The loyalist versifier, "Bob Jingle, 77 had some rhymes on the 
subject in his poem called " The Association. 77 

" And first and foremost we do vow ' ' Affection for old England Folk, 

(As it is politic) Whom we do Brethren call, 

Allegiance to his Majesty, We do profess, but here's the joke, 

Whom we intend to trick. For faith, we'll starve 'em all" 


the authority of Parliament without the consent of the 
king and their own consent, given as formally and as 
solemnly as Scotland gave her consent to the union with 
England. Such consent, so far as the colonies were con- 
cerned, had never been given.* 

This patriot argument, however, had no effect. The 
English and the loyalists had an answer which swept all 
this learned and ingenious reasoning into the sea. 

All these instances of the exclusion of the authority 
of Parliament from the colonies occurred previous to the 
year 1700 ; not a single instance could be found after 
that date. In fact, a totally reverse condition could be 
found; for it was since that time that Parliament had 
been habitually regulating the internal affairs of the colo- 
nies ; and until quite recently the colonists had submitted 
to it 

Those charters containing clauses impliedly excluding 
Parliament from the government of the colonies, and those 
admissions by British officials to the same effect, were pre- 
vious to the revolution of 1688, by which any power there 
might have been in the crown to dispense with or abro- 
gate laws or rights of Parliament was abolished. If the 
king, in granting those early charters, intended to abro- 
gate or dispense with the taxing power or any other legis- 
lative power of Parliament in the colonies, those charters 
were to that extent now void, because the dispensing power 
of the English kings had been abolished by the revolution 
of 1688, which put William III. on the throne. In other 
words, the dispensing power had been abolished for nearly 
a hundred years ; and the colonists, as good "Whigs and 
lovers of liberty, would surely not uphold the wicked dis- 

* ' c Remarks on the Review of the Controversy "between Great 
Britain and her Colonies," pp. 48, 49; Jenkyns, "British Rule and 
Jurisdiction beyond the Seas, " p. 165. 


pensing power of the Stuart kings against whom their 
Puritan ancestors had fought.* 

Moreover, said Englishmen; the present King George 
III., whom the colonists pretend to be so anxious to have 
govern them, to the exclusion of Parliament, is king by 
the act of Parliament which placed the house of Hanover 
on the throne. The colonists are, therefore, compelled to 
acknowledge that Parliament can give them a king, which 
is, of all other things, the highest act of sovereignty and 
legislative power. If Parliament has the right to give 
them a king, it surely has the right to tax them or rule 
them in every other way. Since the revolution of 1688 
Parliament has become omnipotent. One hundred years 
ago it may have been the law that Parliament had no au- 
thority in the colonies, but within the last hundred years 
the law has evidently changed, for Parliament has been 
exercising in them a great deal of authority, which the 
colonists cannot deny. 

The colonists were, therefore, asking for independence 
of Parliament under an ancient form of the British Con- 
stitution, a form which had been abolished in the pre- 
vious century by their friends the Whigs and William 
III. In the time of those old Virginia charters Parlia- 
ment was of little importance and small authority. Some- 
times many years passed without a Parliament being held. 

* It was and still is the unbroken opinion of English lawyers 
that all charters which kings had granted were since 1689 subordinate 
to the will of Parliament. Indeed, any one who has made the slightest 
attempt to understand the development of English history knows that 
for a century previous to 1689, under the Stuart kings, the great con- 
test was whether Parliament had any power at all. That was the 
problem with which Cromwell struggled, and the problem which 
"William III. solved in favor of Parliament in 1689. See Bernard's 
"Select Letters on the Trade and Government of America," London, 


The king was then necessarily the important power in 
the government. He both created and governed the colo- 
nies.* But Parliament had now become vastly more 
powerful. It was in session part of every year. The 
revolution of 1688, the steady development of ideas, the 
needs of a nation that was rapidly increasing its trade 
and commerce and adding new conquests and territories 
to its domain, compelled a very different, a more powerful, 
far-reaching Parliament than that of the time of Charles 
I., who hated Parliaments and tried to rule without 

Parliament had abolished the former powers of the king 
and extended itself to every part of the empire, just as 
to-day the power of Parliament is sovereign and un- 
limited over all the British colonies. To suppose that 
there was any part of the empire to which the whole 
power of Parliament did not extend was as absurd in 1774 
as it is to-day. It had the same authority over the peo- 
ple in America that it had over the people in London. 

"It is a contradiction, in the nature of things, 77 said one of the 
ablest loyalists, " and as absurd as that a part should be greater than 
the whole, to suppose that the supreme legislative power of any king- 
dom does not extend to the utmost bounds of that kingdom. If these 
colonies, which originally belonged to England, are not now to be 

* Before the revolution of 1688 the land of the colonies and the 
government of them were supposed to be the absolute property of the 
king. The Parliament was scarcely allowed to have anything to do 
with them. But after 1688 the power of Parliament extended over 
everything. ' The Eight of the British Legislature to tax the Ameri- 
can Colonies,' 7 pp. 18, 19, London, 1774; "The Address of the 
People of Great Britain to the Inhabitants of America;" "The 
Supremacy of the British Legislature over the Colonies candidly 
discussed," London, 1775. See, also, "The Claim of the Colonies to 
an Exemption from Internal Taxes examined, ' ' London, 1766 ; Ameri- 
can Historical Review, vol. i. p. 37. 


regulated and governed by authority of Great Britain, then the conse- 
quences are plain. They are not dependent upon Great Britain ; they 
are not included within its territories ; they are not part of its dominion; 
the inhabitants are not English, they can have no claim to the privi- 
leges of Englishmen ; they are, with regard to England, foreigners 
and aliens j nay, worse, as they have never been legally discharged 
from the duty they owe it, they are rebels and apostates. } ' "A. 
Friendly Address to all Reasonable Americans," p. 3, 1774. 




THE patriot party's definition ofj'a colony as an inde- 
pendent state with its independence guaranteed and pro- 
tected by the British crowirwas not then, and never has 
been, accepted by Great Britain. A protectorate is quite 
distinct from a colony. 

To the Romans the word colony meant a conquered 
province, garrisoned and controlled by military authority, 
governed by officials sent out from Rome, and held as the 
property of the empire for the benefit and profit of the 
Roman people, very much as crown colonies are held by 
England. To the Greeks it meant a separate community, 
planted by the mother-country, to become almost immedi- 
ately self-sustaining and independent, and to be assisted at 
times in its wars by the mother-country. In England the 
term has usually meant an outlying community of people, 
completely under the authority of Parliament, with no 
self-government at all, or with a certain amount of repre- 
sentative or self-government, according to circumstances, 
but with no view to ultimate independence. , \ 

The American idea was altogether Greek. They had 
approximated towards it, especially in Connecticut, Rhode 
Island, and in early times in Massachusetts, before the 
French were driven from Canada. The moderate patriots 
were now for independence, but wishing to avoid, if pos- 
sible, the question of treason and a civil war, and many 
of them being uncertain as to their ability to stand alone 
against Prance and Spain, or their own disunion and 
sectionalism, they expressed a willingness to have a protec- 


torate from the British crown, in return for which they 
would assist the king in his wars by voluntarily voting 
him supplies in their legislative assemblies.* 

While in their documents they professed to believe that 
England was so good and great that she would in the end 
take their view of the situation, most of them were well 
aware that there was every probability that she would 
reject both their definition of a colony and their definition 
of loyalty. They knew 'the weakness of their argument 
for entire freedom from Parliament, and they sought for 
stronger, broader ground, an argument which would in the 
nature of things justify revolution, or, if you please, 
rebellion, under certain circumstances. 

I have already intimated that they were much influenced 
by certain doctrines known as the rights of man. In 
their pamphlets we find frequent reference to those ideas 
and also to certain writers who were the exponents of 
them, Grotius, Puffendorf, Locke, Burlamaqui, Beccaria, 
Montesquieu, and others. The patriots relied on these 
doctrines for the right which they now claimed of governing 
themselves independently of Parliament, with a mere 
protectorate from the British crown. Two years later 
they relied on the same doctrines for breaking off all 
relations with Great Britain and establishing absolute 

* This doubt as to their ability to stand alone, which as time went 
on turned many patriots into loyalists, is well expressed in a letter 
from Robert E. Livingston to his son, who had been elected to the 
Continental Congress of 1775 : "Every good man wishes that America 
may remain free. In this I heartily join ; at the same time I do not 
desire that we should be wholly independent of the mother-country. 
How to reconcile these jarring principles, I confess I am altogether at 
a loss. The benefit we receive of protection seems to require that we 
should contribute to the support of the navy if not to the armies of 
Britain. 7 ' De Lancey's note, Jones, " New York in the Bevolution," 
vol. i. p. 712. 


Those books and doctrines were very remarkable litera- 
ture. Two of them alone, Locke's and Burlamaqui's small 
volumes, wrought as much harm to the cause of the British 
empire as the efforts of some of the patriot leaders. 
Beginning with Grotius, who was born in 1583, and end- 
ing with Montesquieu, who died in 1755, the writers 
mentioned covered a period of about two hundred years 
of political investigation, thought, and experience. In 
fact, they covered the period since the Eeformation. 
They represented the effect of the Reformation on po- 
litical thought. They represented also all those nations 
whose opinions on such subjects were worth anything. 
Grotius was a Dutchman, Puffendorf a German, Locke 
an Englishman, Burlamaqui an Italian Swiss, and Mon- 
tesquieu a Frenchman. 

Hooker, who lived from 1553 to 1600, and whom Locke 
cites so freely, might be included in the number, and that 
would make the period quite two hundred years. Hooker, 
in his " Ecclesiastical Polity," declared very emphatically 
that governments could not be legitimate unless they 
rested on the consent of the governed. Locke enlarged 
and drew out this thought so liberally that the prevailing 
party in England before the revolution of 1688 thought 
it necessary to exile him. 

There were, of course, other minor writers; and the 
colonists relied upon them all ; but seldom troubled them- 
selves to read the works of the earlier ones, or to read 
Hutchinson, Clarke, and other followers of that school, 
because Locke, Burlamaqui, and Beecaria had summarized 
them all and brought them down to date. Burlamaqui' s 
book was particularly remarkable. To this day any one 
going to the Philadelphia Library, and asking for No. 77, 
can take in his hands the identical, well-worn volume 
which delegates to the Congress and many an unsettled 


Philadelphian read with earnest, anxious minds. It was 
among the first books that the library had obtained ; and 
perhaps the most important and effective book it has ever 

The rebellious colonists also read Locke's " Two Treatises 
on Government" with much profit and satisfaction to them- 
selves. Locke was an extreme Whig, an English revo- 
lutionist of the school of 1688. Before that great event, 
he had been unendurable to the royalists, who were in 
power, and had been obliged to spend a large part of his 
time on the continent. In the preface to his "Two 
Treatises," he says that they will show how entirely legiti- 
mate is the title of William III. to the throne, because it 
is established on the consent of the people. That . is the 
burden of his whole argument, the consent of the people 
as the only true foundation of government. That prin- 
ciple sank so deep into the minds of the patriot colonists 
that it was the foundation of all their political thought, 
and became an essentially American idea. 

Beccaria, who, like Burlamaqui, was an Italian, also 
exercised great influence on the colonists. His famous 
book, " Crimes and Punishments," was also a short, concise, 
but very eloquent volume. It caused a great stir in the 
world. The translation circulated in America had added 
to it a characteristic commentary by Voltaire. Beccaria, 
though not writing directly on the subject of liberty, neces- 
sarily included that subject, because he dealt with the 
administration of the criminal law. His plea for more 
humane and just punishments, and for punishments more 

* The colonists were also fond of reading Montesquieu's " Spirit of 
the Laws, " but more in after years when they were framing their con- 
stitutions. He dealt more with the details of governmental adminis- 
tration, the legislative, executive, and judicial departments. Bur- 
lamaqui confined himself exclusively to the fundamental principles of 
political liberty and independence. 


in proportion to tbe offence, found a ready sympathy 
among the Americans, who had already revolted in disgust 
from the brutality and extravagant cruelty of the English 
criminal code. 

But Beccaria also stated most beautifully and clearly the 
essential principles of liberty. His foundation doctrine, 
that " every act of authority of one man over another for 
which there is not absolute necessity is tyrannical," made 
a most profound impression in America. He laid down 
also the principle that " in every human society there is an 
effort continually tending to confer on one part the highest 
power and happiness, and to reduce the other to the extreme 
of weakness and misery." That sentence became the life- 
long guide of many Americans. It became a constituent 
part of the minds of Jefferson and Hamilton. It can be 
seen as the foundation, the connecting strand, running all 
through the essays of the Federalist. It was the inspiration 
of the " checks and balances" in the national Constitution. 
It can be traced in American thought and legislation down 
to the present time. 

Burlamaqui's book, devoted exclusively to the subject 
of liberty and independence, is still one of the best exposi- 
tions of the true doctrines of natural law, or the rights of 
man. He belonged to a Protestant family that had once 
lived at Lucca, Italy; but had been compelled, like the 
family of Turretini, and many others, to take refuge in 
Switzerland. He became a professor at Geneva, which 
gave him the reputation of a learned man. He also 
became a counsellor of state and was noted for his practical 

He had intended to write a great work in many volumes 
on the subject to which he had devoted so much of his 
life, " The Principles of Natural Law," as it was then 
called. Ill health preventing such a huge task, he pre- 


pared a single volume, which he said was only for be- 
ginners and students, because it dealt with the bare 
elements of the science in the simplest and plainest lan- 

This little book was translated into English in 1748, 
and contained only three hundred pages ; but in that small 
space of large, clear type, Burlamaqui compressed every- 
thing that the patriot colonists wanted to know. He 
was remarkably clear and concise, and gave the Ameri- 
cans the qualities of the Italian mind at its best. He 
aroused them by his modern glowing thought and his 
enthusiasm for progress and liberty. His handy little 
volume was vastly more effective and far-reaching than 
would have been the blunderbuss he had intended to load 
to the muzzle. 

If we examine the volumes of Burlamaqui's predeces- 
sors, Grotius, Puffendorf, and the others, we find their state- 
ments about natural law and the rights of man rather 
brief, vague and general, as is usual with the old writers 
on any science. Burlamaqui brought them down to date, 
developed their principles, and swept in the results of all 
the thought and criticism since their day. 

The term natural law, which all these writers used, has 
long since gone out of fashion. They used it because, in- 
spired by the Reformation, they were struggling to get 
away from the arbitrary system, the artificial scholasticism, 
the despotism of the middle ages. They were seeking to 
obtain for law and government a foundation which should 
grow out of the nature of things, the common facts of 
life that everybody understood. They sought a system 
that, being natural, would become established and eternal 
like nature ; a system that would displace that thing of 
the middle ages which they detested, and called " arbitrary 


Let us, they said, contemplate for a time man as he is 
in himself, the natural man, his wants and requirements. 

"The only way," said Burlamaqui, "to attain to the knowledge 
of that natural law is to consider attentively the nature and constitu- 
tion of man, the relations he has to the heings that surround him, and 
the states from thence resulting. In fact, the very term of natural 
law and the notion we have given of it, show that the principles of 
this science must he taken from the very nature and constitution of 
man." "Principles of Natural Law," p. 156. 

Men naturally, he said, draw together to form societies 
for mutual protection and advantage. Their natural state 
is a state of union and society, and these societies are 
merely for the common advantage of all of the members. 

This was certainly a very simple proposition, but it had 
required centuries to bring men's minds back to it ; and it 
was not altogether safe to put forth because it implied that 
each community existed for the benefit of itself, for the 
benefit of its members, and not for the benefit of a prince 
or another nation, or for the church, or for an empire. 

It was a principle quickly seized upon by the Americans 
as soon as their difficulties began in 1765. In their early 
debates and discussions we hear a great deal about a " state 
of nature," which at first seems rather meaningless to us. 
But it was merely their attempt to apply to themselves the 
fundamental principles of the Reformation. Were the 
colonies by the exactions and remodelling of the mother- 
country thrown into the "state of nature," where they 
could reorganize society afresh, on the basis of their own 
advantage ? How much severity or how much oppression 
or dissatisfaction would bring about this state of nature? 
"Was there any positive rule by which you could decide? 
Patrick Henry, who was always very eloquent on the sub- 
ject, declared that the boundary had been passed; that 
the colonies were in a state of nature. 


Any one who is at all familiar with the trend of thought 
for the last hundred years can readily see how closely this 
idea of going back to natural causes and first conceptions 
for the discovery of political principles is allied to every 
kind of modern progress ; to the modern study of natural 
history, the study of the plants and animals in their natural 
environment, instead of by preconceived scholastic theories ; 
the study of the human body by dissection instead of by 
supposition ; the study of heat, light, electricity, the soil, 
the rocks, the ocean, the stars by actual observation, with- 
out regard to what the Scriptures and learned commentators 
had to say. 

A large part of the American colonists were very far 
advanced in all the ideas of the Reformation. Burlama- 
qui's book, applying in clear every-day language these free 
and wonderful principles to politics and government, came 
to a large section of them as the most soul-stirring and 
mind-arousing message they had ever heard. It has all 
become trite enough to us ; but to them it was fresh and 
marvellous. Their imaginations seized on it with the in- 
domitable energy and passion which the climate inspired, 
and some who breathed the air of Virginia and Massachu- 
setts were on fire with enthusiasm. 

" This state of nature," argued Burlamaqui, " is not the 
work of man, but established by divine institution." 

11 Natural society is a state of equality and liberty ; a state in which 
all men enjoy the same prerogatives, and an entire independence on 
any other power "but God. Por every man is naturally master of him- 
self, and equal to his fellow-creatures so long as he does not subject 
himself to another person's authority by a particular convention." 
" Principles of Natural Law,' 7 p. 38. 

Here we find coupled with liberty that word equality 
which played such a tremendous part in history for the 


succeeding hundred years. And we must bear in mind 
that what the people of that time meant by it was political 
equality, equality of rights, equality before the law and 
the government ; and not equality of ability, talents, for- 
tune, or gifts, as some have fancied. 

Burlamaqui not only found liberty, independence, and 
equality growing out of nature herself; but he argued that 
all this was part of the divine plan, the great order of 
nature and the universe. Indeed, that was what he and 
his Reformation predecessors had set out to discover, to 
unravel the system of humanity, to see if there really was 
a system that could be gathered from the actual plain facts ; 
and to see also if there was a unity and completeness in 
this system. 

" The human understanding," he says, " is naturally 
right, and has within itself a strength sufficient to arrive 
at the knowledge of truth, and to distinguish it from 
error." That he announces as the fundamental principle 
of his book, "the hinge whereon the whole system of 
humanity turns," and it was simply his way of restating 
the great doctrine of the Reformation, .the right of private 

But he goes on to enlarge on it in a way particularly 
pleasing to the patriot colonists, for he says we have this 
power to decide for ourselves, " especially in things wherein 
our respective duties are concerned." 

" Yes," said the colonists ; " we have often thought that 
we were the best judges of all our own affairs." 

" Those who feel," said Franklin, in his examination 
before Parliament, " can best judge." 

The daring Burlamaqui went on to show that liberty 
instead of being, as some supposed, a privilege to be gra- 
ciously accorded, was in reality a universal right, inherent 
in the nature of things. 


"Let us consider the system of humanity, either in general or par- 
ticular, we shall find that the whole is built upon this principle, reflec- 
tions, deliberations, researches, actions, judgments ; all suppose the 
use of liberty." " Principles of Natural Law,' 7 p. 25. 

Then appears that idea common to the great leaders of 
thought in that age, that man's true purpose in the world 
is the pursuit of happiness. To this pursuit, they said, 
every human being has a complete right. It was part of 
liberty ; a necessary consequence of liberty, This princi- 
ple of the right to pursue happiness, which is merely 
another way of stating the right of self-development, has 
played as great a part in subsequent history as equality. 
It is one of the foundation principles of the Declaration 
of Independence. It is given there as the ground-work 
of the right of revolution, the right of a people to throw 
off or destroy a power which interferes with this great 
pursuit, " and to institute a new government, laying its 
foundation on such principles, and organizing its power in 
such form as to them shall seem most likely to effect their 
safety and happiness." 

It has been interpreted in all sorts of ways, as the right 
to improve your condition, to develop your talents, to 
grow rich, or to rise into the class of society above you. 
It is now in its broadest meaning so axiomatic in this 
country that Americans can hardly realize that it was ever 

But it was, and still is, disputed in England and on the 
continent. Even so liberal a man as Kingsley resented 
with indignation the charge that he favored the aspiration 
of the lower classes to change their condition. Once a 
cobbler, remain a cobbler, and be content to be a good cob- 
bler. In other words, the righteousness which lie so loudly 
professed was intended to exalt certain fortunate individ- 
uals, and not to advance society. 


This desire and pursuit of happiness being part of 
nature, or part of the system of Providence, and as essential 
to every man and as inseparable from him as his reason, it 
should be freely allowed him, and not repressed. This, 
Burlamaqui declares, is a great principle, " the key of the 
human system," opening to vast consequences for the world. 

The consequences have certainly been vast, vaster far 
than he dreamed of. Millions of people now live their 
daily life under the shadow of this doctrine. Millions 
have fled to us from Europe to seek its protection. Not 
only the whole American system of laws, but whole philoso- 
phies and codes of conduct have grown up under it. The 
abolitionists appealed to it, and freed six millions of slaves. 
The transcendental philosophy of New England, that ex- 
treme and beautiful attempt to develop conscience, nobility, 
and character from within ; that call of the great writers 
like Lowell to every humble individual to stand by his 
own personality, fear it not, advance it by its own lines ; 
even our education, the elective system of our colleges, all 
these things have followed under that " pursuit of happi- 
ness" which the rebel colonists seized upon so gladly in 
1765 and enshrined in their Declaration of Independence 
in 1776. 

They found in the principles of natural law how gov- 
ernment, civil society, or " sovereignty^' as those writers 
were apt to call it, was to be built up and regulated. Civil 
government did not destroy natural rights and the pursuit 
of happiness. On the contrary, it was intended to give 
these rights greater security and a fresh force and efficiency. 
That was the purpose men had in coming together to form a 
civil society for the benefit of all that was the reason, as Bur- 
lamaqui put it, that " the sovereign became the depository, 
as it were, of the will and strength of each individual." 

This seemed very satisfactory to some of the colonists. 



You choose your sovereign, your government, for yourself, 
and make it your mere depository or agent. Then as to 
the nature of government, the right to govern, they were 
very much pleased to find that the only right there was of 
this sort was the right of each community to govern itself. 
Government by outside power was absolutely indefensible, 
because the notion that there was a divine right in one set 
of people to rule over others was exploded nonsense, and 
the assertion that mere might or superior power necessarily 
gave such right was equally indefensible. There remained 
only one plausible reason, and that was that superior excel- 
lence, wisdom, or ability might possibly give such right. 

As to this " superior excellence" theory, if you admitted 
it you denied man's inherent right to liberty, equality, and 
the pursuit of happiness ; you denied his moral account- 
ability and responsibility; you crippled his independent 
development, his self-development, his individual action; 
in a word, you destroyed the whole natural system. 

Because a man is inferior to another is no reason why he 
should surrender his liberty, his accountability, his chance 
for self-development, to the superior. We do not surren- 
der our property to the next man who is an abler business 
manager. Our inferiority does not give him a right over 
us. On the contrary, the inferiority of the inferior man 
is an additional reason why he should cling to all those 
rights of nature which have been given to him, that he 
may have wherewithal to raise himself, and be alone ac- 
countable for himself. Or, as Burlamaqui briefly sum- 
marized it : 

"The knowledge I have of the excellency of a superior does not 
alone afford me a motive sufficient to subject myself to Mm, and to 
Induce me to abandon my own will in order to take his for my rule ; 
. . . and without any reproach of conscience I may sincerely judge 
that the intelligent principle within mo is sufficient to direct my con- 
duct" "Principles of Natural Law," p. 86. 


Moral obligation, moral responsibility, codes, conduct, 
life, happiness, development, and progress, he again shows, 
grow out of this right of private judgment, this right of 
individualism, the great protestant principle, which within 
the last one hundred and fifty years has brought such 
vast advancement and comfort to all nations that have 
adopted it. 

No one has a natural inherent right to command or to 
exercise dominion. It is merely a privilege which may be 
granted by the people. They alone have inherent inalien- 
able rights ; and they alone can confer the privilege of 
commanding. It had been supposed that the sovereign 
alone had rights, and the people only privileges. But 
here were Burlamaqui, Puffendorf, Montesquieu, Locke, 
and fully half the American colonists, undertaking to 
reverse this order and announcing that the people alone 
had rights, and the sovereign merely privileges. 

True sovereignty was then, in a word, a superior and 
wise power accepted as such by reason ; or, as the Ameri- 
cans afterwards translated it in their documents, " a just 
government exists only by consent of the governed/' All 
men being born politically equal, the colonies, as Dickinson 
and Hamilton explained, are equally with Great Britain 
entitled to happiness, equally entitled to govern themselves, 
equally entitled to freedom and independence.* 

It is curious to see the cautious, careful way in which 
some of the colonists applied these doctrines by mixing 
them up with their loyalty arguments. This is very 
noticeable in the pamphlets written by Alexander Hamil- 
ton. He gives the stock arguments for redress of 
grievances, freedom from internal taxation, government 
by the king alone, and will not admit that he is any- 

* "Dickinson's "Works," vol. i. p. 202. 


thing but a loyal subject. At the same time there runs 
through all he says an undercurrent of strong rebellion 
which leads to his ultimate object. " The power," he says, 
" which one society bestows upon any man or body of 
men can never extend beyond its own limits." 

This he lays down as a universal truth, independently 
of charters and the wonderful British Constitution. It 
applied to the whole world. Parliament was elected by 
the people of England, therefore it had no authority out- 
side of the British isle. That British isle and America 
were separate societies. 

" Nature," said Hamilton, " has distributed an equality 
of rights to every man." How then, he asked, can the 
English people have any rights over life, liberty, or 
property in America. They can have authority only 
among themselves in England. We are separated from 
Great Britain, Hamilton argued, not only by the ocean, 
by geography, but because we have no part or share in 
governing her. Therefore, as we have no share in gov- 
erning her, she, by the law of nature, can have no share in 
governing us ; she is a separate society. 

The British, he said, were attempting to involve in the 
idea of a colony the idea of political slavery, and against 
that a man must fight with his life. To be controlled by 
the superior wisdom of another nation was ridiculous, un- 
worthy of the consideration of manhood ; and at this point 
he used that sentence which has so often been quoted, 
" Deplorable is the condition of that people who have 
nothing else than the wisdom and justice of another to 
depend upon." * 

Charters and documents, he declared, must yield to 
natural law and the rights of man. 

* "Works, Lodge edition, vol. i. p. 70. 


" The sacred rights of man are not to be rummaged for among old 
parchments or musty records. They are written as with a sunbeam 
in the whole volume of human nature by the hand of divinity itself 
and can never be erased by mortal power." 

The Declaration of Independence was an epitome of 
these doctrines of natural law applied to the colonies. The 
Declaration of Independence originated in those doctrines, 
and not in the mind of Jefferson, as so many people have 
absurdly supposed. In order to see how directly the Dec- 
laration was an outcome of these teachings, we have only 
to read its opening paragraphs. 

* ' "When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for 
one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them 
with another, and to assume, among the powers of the earth, the 
separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature's 
God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires 
that they should declare the causes which impel them to the 

" We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created 
equal j that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable 
rights ; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happi- 
ness. That, to secure these rights, governments are instituted among 
men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed; 
that, whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these 
ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to insti- 
tute a new government, laying its foundation on such principles, 
and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most 
likely to effect their safety and happiness. Prudence, indeed, will 
dictate that governments long established should not be changed for 
light and transient causes ; and, accordingly, all experience hath, 
shown, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are 
sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which 
they are accustomed.' 7 

By understanding the writings of Burlamaqui, Locke, 
and Beccaria, which the colonists were studying so intently, 
we know the origin of the Declaration, and need not 
flounder in the dark, as so many writers have done, won- 


dering where it came from, or how it was that Jefferson 
could have invented it. Being unwilling to take the 
trouble of examining carefully the influences which pre- 
ceded the Declaration, historical students are sometimes 
surprised to find a document like the Virginia Bill of 
Rights or the supposed Mecklenburg resolutions,* issued 
before the Declaration and yet containing the same princi- 
ples. They instantly jump to the conclusion that here is 
the real origin and author of the Declaration, and from 
this Jefferson stole his ideas. 

Jefferson drafted the Declaration ; but neither he, John 
Adams, Franklin, Sherman, nor Livingston, who composed 
the committee which was responsible for it, ever claimed 
any originality for its principles. They were merely 
stating principles which were already familiar to the 
people, so familiar that they stated them somewhat care- 
lessly and took too much for granted. It would have 
been better, instead of saying, "all men are created equal," 
that they had said all men are created politically equal, 
which was what they meant, and what every one at that 
time understood. By leaving out the word politically they 
gave an opportunity to a generation unfamiliar with the 
doctrines of natural law to suppose that they meant that 
all men are created, or should be made, equal in conditions, 
opportunities, or talents. 

British writers, and some Americans, anxious to secure 
the favorable regard of Englishmen, have in recent years 
been fond of asserting that the patriot colonists took their 
ideas of liberty and the principles of the Declaration of 
Independence from the writings of Rousseau. But after 
reading hundreds of pamphlets and arguments of the 
Revolutionary period, I cannot find Rousseau or any 

* Magazine of American History, vol. xxi. pp. 31, 221. 


French writer of his sort cited with approval by any of 
the colonists. They confine themselves entirely to the 
school of writers already mentioned. 

In the pamphlets written by loyalists there is no charge 
that the colonists were influenced by Rousseau. Peter 
Van Schaack, the loyalist whose memoirs and letters have 
come down to us, followed the arguments of the patriot 
portion of the colonists very closely. He notes the books 
which they were reading and which influenced them. He 
would have been very quick to notice and comment on 
Eousseau, if the colonists had been reading him. But he 
nowhere mentions such influence.* 

Writers who are out of sympathy with American ideas 
very naturally want to fasten the influence of Rousseau 
upon us ; and connect our principles in some way with the 
horrors of the French revolution. Rousseau was an im- 
moral, eccentric, and violent man, and his view of liberty 

* In the " Address of the People of Great Britain to the Inhabi- 
tants of America," published in London in 1775, the author com- 
plains that the colonists are influenced by Montesquieu, and wishes 
that they would study, instead, the condition of the Greek states in the 
Peloponnesian War. In " A Letter from a Veteran to the Officers of 
the Army," published in 1774, the author, a very stout Tory, says that 
the colonists were too much influenced by Locke and Harrington. 
There is no mention of Rousseau. See, also, "The Constitutional 
Eight of the Legislature of Great Britain to tax the British Colo- 
nies," p. vii., London, 1768. Few Englishmen studied the colonies 
more closely than Dean Tucker, and he would have quickly commented 
on any influence from Rousseau. In Cui Bono," p. 20, he says, 
" The great grievance of the colonies and their bitter complaints against 
the mother-country were that they were not governed a la monsr 
Locke : for to give them their due they hardly made any objection to 
anything besides. ' ' The authorities the patriot colonists relied on and 
their way of citing them are well exhibited in Dickinson's " Essay on 
the Constitutional Power of Great Britain," pp. 43, 44, 56, 76, 81, 
101, 102, 106, etc. See, also, : { Considerations on the Nature and Extent 
of the Legislative Authority of the British Parliament," pp. 3, 5, 9, 
etc., Philadelphia, 1774; Works of John Adams, vol. ii. p. 388. 


colonists seem to have been totally uninfluenced by these 
Frenchmen, who were carrying liberty to a ridiculous 
extreme in their attack on the corrupt and loathsome 
social system of France. The Americans, on the other 
hand, had no such problem to deal with. They had noth- 
ing against their own social system. On the contrary, they 
liked it so well that they were*' fighting for the indepen- 
dence of it. 




IT was not merely in final arguments that the year 1774 
was a crisis. The patriots were in an extreme and pas- 
sionate state of mind. Their violence to the loyalists in- 
creased, and showed the typical symptoms of a revolution. 

The loyalists were becoming more decided and out- 
spoken, and events seemed to be increasing their numbers. 
The rough element in the patriot party looked upon them 
as enemies to be broken up and disorganized as quickly as 
possible. Disarming parties visited loyalist houses and 
took away all the weapons ; and it was a method well cal- 
culated to check union and organization and prevent the 
loyalists from taking advantage of their numbers. Such a 
method would not perhaps be so effective in modern times 
when fire-arms are so cheap and easy to procure. 

If the loyalists had formed some sort of organization 
among themselves ; appointed their committees of safety, 
as the patriots did ; kept their weapons, instead of giving 
them up at the patriot demand ; resisted, or taken the offen- 
sive, instead of waiting passively for the action of the 
British army; or, if the British army had been more 
prompt and active in assisting them, they might have 
altered the course of history. If they had been as full of 
the American atmosphere of energy and organization as 
were the patriots, they might have got the start with the 
disarming, and worked it to the suppression of the rebel- 
lion. But the patriots were inspired and wrought to the 
highest pitch of energy by the rights of man. They not 
only seized the loyalist arms, but took possession of most 


of the colony governments. The loyalists had no inspiring 
ideas. They could talk only of the British empire and 
the. regular army. 

There were, it is true, numerous scattering attempts at 
loyalist organization in the interior of the Carolinas, in the 
peninsula between the Delaware and the Chesapeake, in 
Monmouth County, New Jersey, and near Albany and 
in Westchester County, New York. In some of these 
places they resisted disarming, held their own, and took 
their turn at violent methods, cutting the manes and tails 
of patriot horses and throwing down patriot fences. In 
the South they were more successful and more murderous 
in their dealings with the patriots. But their plans were 
not generally adopted by their fellow-loyalists throughout 
the country. They lacked the indomitable energy of the 

In their scattered, individualized condition they be- 
came more and more the prey of the rough element 
among their opponents. Everywhere they were seized 
unexpectedly, at the humor of the mob, tarred and feath- 
ered, paraded through the towns, or left tied to trees in 
the woods. Any accidental circumstance would cause 
these visitations, and often the victim was not as politi- 
cally guilty as some of his neighbors who, by prudence or 
accident, remained unharmed to the end of the war. 

Those patriots of the upper classes who for many years 

* The patriot party seems to have been largely composed of that 
class whom our over-educated people often contemptuously described 
as "typical Americans. " G-eneral Cornwallis noticed the difference 
in character between the two parties, and described the loyalists as 
" timid" and the patriots as " inveterate. " General Robertson, in his 
testimony on the conduct of the war, said that the patriots were only 
about a third of the people, but by their energy in seizing arms and 
assuming the government they kept the others in subjection. Par- 
liamentary Register, vol. ziii. p. 307. 


had been rousing the masses of the people to resist the prin- 
ciple of taxation and all authority of Parliament were now 
somewhat aghast at the success of their work. The patriot 
colonists, when aroused, were lawless ; and, while clamor- 
ing for independence, violated in a most shocking manner 
the rights of personal liberty and property. 

In the South, as soon as the rebellion party got a little 
control, a loyalist might be locked up in the jail for the 
mere expression of his opinion; and in the North, too, 
when the rebellion party got control in a county they were 
apt to use the jail to punish loyalists. 

" Out with him ! out with him !" shouted the mob, as 
they rushed after Francis Green into the inn at Norwich, 
Connecticut, where he was taking refuge. He had already 
been driven out of Windham. They tumbled him into 
his own carriage, lashed his horses, and, shouting and yell- 
ing, chased him out of Norwich. What was his crime ? 
He had signed the farewell address to Governor Hutchin- 
son, of Massachusetts. 

In Berkshire, Massachusetts, in that same summer of 
1774, the mob forced the judges from their seats and shut 
up the court-house, drove David Ingersoll from his house, 
and laid his lands and fences waste ; they riddled the 
house of Daniel Leonard with bullets, and drove him to 
Boston; they attacked Colonel Gilbert, of Freetown, in 
the night, but he fought them off. That same night Brig- 
adier Euggles fought off a mob, but they painted his horse 
and cut off its mane and tail. Afterwards they robbed his 
house of all the weapons in it and poisoned his other 
horse. They stopped the judges in the highway, insulted 
them, hissed them as they entered court. The house of 
Sew'ell, Attorney-General of Massachusetts, was wrecked; 
Oliver, president of the council, was mobbed and com- 
pelled to resign ; an armed mob of five thousand at Worces- 


ter compelled the judges, sheriffs, and gentlemen of the 
bar to march up and down before them., cap in hand, 
and read thirty times their disavowal of holding court 
under Parliament. 

In a similar way the court at Taunton was handled by 
the mob; also at Springfield and Plymouth and Great 
jBarrington. Loyalists everywhere were driven from their 
houses and families, some being obliged to take to the 
woods, where they nearly lost their lives. One Dunbar, 
who had bought fat cattle from a loyalist was, for that 
offence, put into the belly of one of the oxen that had been 
dressed, carted four miles, and deprived of four head of 
cattle and a horse. 

Men were ridden and tossed on fence-rails , were gagged 
and bound for days at a time ; pelted with stones ; fastened 
in rooms where there was a fire with the chimney stopped 
on top ; advertised as public enemies, so that they would be 
cut off from all dealing with their neighbors. They had 
bullets shot into their bedrooms; money or valuable plate 
extorted to save them from violence and on pretence of 
taking security for their good behavior. Their houses and 
ships were burnt ; they were compelled to pay the guards 
who watched them in their houses ; and when carted about 
for the mob to stare at and abuse they were compelled to 
pay something at every town. 

In the cases of rich loyalists the expenses put upon 
them were very heavy. Mr. James Christie, a merchant 
of Baltimore, after narrowly escaping with his life, had to 
pay nine shillings per day to each of the men who guarded 
his house, and was ordered to pay five hundred pounds to 
the revolutionary convention " to be expended occasionally 
towards his proportion of all charges and expenses, in- 
curred or to be incurred, for the defence of America dur- 
ing the present contest." 


Some of us perhaps have read of the treatment of the 
Eev. Samuel Seabury, afterwards the first bishop of the 
Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States. His 
house was invaded by the mob, his daughters insulted, 
their lives threatened, bayonets thrust through their caps, 
and all the money and silverware in the house taken. 
Seabury himself was paraded through New Haven and 
imprisoned for a month. Afterwards he and some other 
loyalists fled for their lives, and lived in a secret room, be- 
hind the chimney, in a private house, where they were fed 
by their friends through a trap-door. 

In South Carolina the mob, in one instance, after 
applying the tar and feathers, displayed their Southern 
generosity and politeness by scraping their victim clean, 
instead of turning him adrift, as was usually done, to go 
home to his wife and family in his horrible condition or 
seek a pitiable refuge at the house of a friend, if he could 
find one. 

" Of the few who objected (to the Charleston Association) there were 
only two who were hardy enough to ridicule or treat it with con- 
tempt, viz., Laughlin, Martin and John Dealey, on which account 
. . . Yesterday they were carted through the principal streets of the 
town in complete suits of tar and feathers. The very indecent and 
daring "behaviours of the two culprits in several instances occasioned 
their being made public spectacles of. After having been exhibited 
for about half an hour, and having made many acknowledgments of 
their crime, tbey were conducted home, cleaned, and quietly put on 
board of Captain Lasley's ship. J ' American Archives, 4th series, ii. 
p. 922. 

It would be a comparatively easy task to collect from 
the records instances of this sort, entirely omitted from 
regulation histories, but which, if given in their full 
details, would fill a good-sized volume. For the three 
months, July, August, and September, of the year 1774, 


one can find in the "American Archives" alone over thirty 
descriptions of outrages of this sort.* 

If we went on collecting instances and used besides the 
volumes of the "American Archives" the numerous other 
sources of information, and carried the search through all 
the years when these things were done, there would be an 
enormous mass of instances. But we would not then have 
them all ; for there must have been countless instances of 
violence to loyalists which were not recorded in print. 
Like the other instances, they played their part; were 
well known by common report ; contributed towards form- 
ing opinion and action in the great problem; and now, 
being unpleasant or inconvenient to remember, have passed 
out of human recollection as though they had never hap- 

Many saved themselves by yielding, by resigning the 
offices they held under British authority, or by writing 
out a humiliating apology and reading it aloud, or letting 
it be published in the newspapers. When this system of 
terrorism was once well under way, there was a crop of 
these recantations everywhere. But we do not always 
know from the records the severity by which these recan- 
tations were forced. 

Loyalists would often resist for a time before subjecting 
themselves to the ignominy of a recantation. In one 
instance twenty-nine loyalists were carried about by a party 
of militia for several days from town to town. They were 

* American Archives, 4th. series, i. pp. 630, 663, 716, 724, 731, 
732, 745, 762, 787, 806, 885, 965, 970, 974, 1009, 1042, 1061, 1070, 
1105, 1106, 1178, 1236, 1243, 1253, 1260 ; 4th series, ii. pp. 33, 34, 91, 
131, 174, 176, 318, 337, 340, 466, 507, 545, 552, 622, 725, 875, 920, 
922, 1652, 1688, 1697; 4th series, iii. pp. 52, 59, 105, 119, 127, 145, 
151, 170, 326, 462, 682, 823, 1072, 1254, 1266 ; 4th scries, iv. pp. 19, 
29, 203, 247, 288, 475, 564, 679, 719, 847, 884, 887, 941, 1043, 1228, 
1237, 1241, 1284, 1288, 1571, 1580, 1585, 1590, 1692, 1717. 


told that they were to be put in the Sunbury mines, which 
were damp, underground passages for mining copper in Con- 
necticut, not far from Hartford. These mines were often 
used for terrorizing loyalists. The twenty-nine were 
exhibited, hectored, and tormented, until before they reached 
the mines the last one had humbled himself by a public 
confession and apology. 

As time went on there were comparatively few who, 
when visited by the mob, did not finally make a public 
apology, because, although that was bad enough, they knew 
that in the end there was the far worse infamy and torture 
of the tar and feathers. There were few men of any posi- 
tion or respectability and it was men of this sort who 
were usually attacked who could bear the thought or 
survive the infliction of that process, unless they afterwards 
left the country altogether. To be stripped naked, smeared 
all over with disgusting black pitch, the contents of two or 
three pillows rubbed into it, and in that condition to be 
paraded through the streets of the town for neighbors and 
acquaintances to stare at, was enough to break down very 
daring spirits. 

One could never tell when an angry mob might rush to 
this last resource. On August 24, 1774, a mob at New 
London were carrying off Colonel Willard, when he 
agreed to apologize and resign his office. But the account 
goes on to say, 

11 One Captain Davis, of Brimfield, -was present, who showing 
resentment, and treating the people with "bad language, was stripped, 
and honoured with the new-fashion dress of tar and feathers ; a proof 
this that the act for tarring and feathering is not repealed. 77 Amer- 
ican Archives, 4th series, i. 731. 

When we consider that this mob rule was steadily prac- 
tised for a period of more than ten years, it is not sur- 
prising that it left an almost indelible mark on. our people. 



They seem to have acquired from it that fixed habit now 
called lynch law, which is still practised among us in many 
parts of the country in a most regular and systematic man- 
ner, and participated in by respectable people. The term 
lynch law originated in the method of handling the loyal- 
ists in the Bevolution, and was named from the brother of 
the man who founded Lynchburgh in Virginia.* 

By the year 1775 the patriot portion of the people had 
grown so accustomed to dealing with the loyalists by 
means of the mob, that they regarded it as a sort of estab- 
lished and legalized procedure. In New Jersey we find 
an account of the tar and feathers inflicted on a loyalist 
closing with the words, " The whole was conducted with 
that regularity and decorum that ought to be observed in 
all public punishments."! 

Looking back at it with the long perspective the present 
gives, we can say that these things were the passion for 
independence, the instinct of nationality seizing for itself 
a country of its own, without violence if it could, but 
with the worst violence if it must. England, however, 
was not inclined to take that view. The greater the num- 
ber of such occurrences, the more numerous became the 
Englishmen who were convinced that the colonies needed 
not more liberty, but more systematic government and con- 
trol. The loyalists in America believed that such out- 
rages increased their own numbers and made it more and 
more certain that they were, as they claimed to be, a 
majority of the people. 

The vast number of written and spoken apologies were 
nearly all insincere ; even the oaths that were taken were 
nearly all considered as not binding by the victims, 
because obtained by threats or violence. They were often 

* Atlantic Monthly, vol. Ixxxviii. p. 731. 
| American Archives, 4th series, iv. p. 203. 


forced to take the oaths to save their children from beg- 
gary and ruin, and openly gave this as an excuse. 

As for the liberty of the press, it was at the close of the 
year 1775 completely extinguished; and this increased and 
encouraged the enemies of the colonies in England. James 
Rivington, of New York, who printed and published 
many of the loyalist pamphlets, was boycotted and assailed 
by town and village committees until, though he apologized 
and humbled himself, he narrowly escaped with his life, 
and finally took refuge on a British man-of-war. 

Prominent men among the rebel party regretted these 
things and worried over them ; but all to no effect. The 
loyalists were so numerous, possibly a majority, and might 
effect so much if they organized themselves, that it was a 
great temptation to let the rough and wild element among 
the patriots go on with its work and keep the loyalists 
broken up and terrorized. 

John Adams had the enormity and cruelty of such con- 
duct brought home to him very closely, for he was counsel 
in a famous case in which one of the victims, Richard 
King, attempted to have legal redress against the mob. 

A party of people disguised as Indians broke into 
King's store and house as early in the difficulties with 
England as March 16, 1 766. They destroyed all the books 
and papers relating to his business, laid waste his property, 
and threatened his life if he should seek redress. Seven 
or eight years afterwards, in 1774, the mob assailed him 
again because one of his cargoes of lumber, without any 
fault of his, had been purchased by the British army in 
Boston. Forty men visited him on this occasion, and, by 
threatening his life, compelled him to disavow his loyalist 
opinions. He shortly afterwards went insane and died. 

u The terror and distress, the distraction and horror of his family," 
writes John Adams to his wife, u cannot be described in words or 


ment, sacrificed every penny of their property, and from 
positions of importance and prominence in the colonies 
they retired to England to be submerged into insignificance 
and poverty, or they retired to Canada where their de- 
scendants can still be found working with their hands, or 
struggling back into the position their ancestors occupied 
more than a hundred years ago. 

The disastrous effects of the rise of the lower orders of 
the people into power appeared everywhere, leaving its 
varied and peculiar characteristics in each community ; but 
New England suffered least of all. In Virginia its work 
was destructive and complete ; for all that made Virginia 
great, and produced her remarkable men, was her aristoc- 
racy of tobacco-planters. This aristocracy forced on the 
Revolution with heroic enthusiasm against the will of the 
lower classes, little dreaming that they were forcing it on to 
their own destruction. But in 1780 the result was already 
so obvious that Chastellux, the French traveller, saw it 
with the utmost clearness, and in his book he prophesies 
Virginia's gradual sinking into the insignificance which we 
have seen in our time. 

Even in Massachusetts, where the dreaded class accom- 
plished less evil than anywhere else, the prospect of their 
rule seemed so terrible that the strongest of the patriots 
were often shaken in their purpose. How it fretted and 
unnerved John Adams we know full well, for he has con- 
fessed it in his diary. A man in Massachusetts one day con- 
gratulated him on the anarchy, the mob violence, the insults 
to judges, the closing of the courts, and the tar and feathers 
which the patriots and their Congress were producing. 

" Oh, Mr. Adams, what great things have you and your colleagues 
done for us 1 We can never be grateful enough to you. There are no 
courts of justice now in this province, and I hope there never will be 



Adams for once in his life could not reply. 

"Is tills the object for which. I have been contending, said I to 
myself, for I rode along without any answer to this wretch ; are these 
the sentiments of such people, and how many of them are there in the 
country ? Half the nation, for what I know j for half the nation are 
debtors, if not more ; and these have been in all countries the sentiments 
of debtors. If the power of the country should get into such hands, 
and there is a great danger that it will, to what purpose have we sacri- 
ficed our time, health, and everything else?" Works of John Adams, 
vol. ii. p. 420. 

If the loyalists could come back from the grave, they 
would probably say that their fears and prophecies had 
been fulfilled in the most extraordinary manner; some- 
times literally; in most cases substantially. There is 
no question that the Revolution was followed by a great 
deal of bad government, political corruption, sectional 
strife, coarseness in manners, hostility to the arts and 
refinements of life, assassination, lynch law, and other 
things which horrified Englishmen and afforded the stock 
material for the ridicule of such writers as Dickens and 
Mrs. Montagu. 

The descendants of the loyalists, whom our passion for 
independence scattered in Canada and the British empire, 
find plenty of material for their purpose, and they have 
often said that we reaped the evil fruit of our self-will and 
blindness ; that we would have been better governed, life 
and property would have been safer, living more comfort- 
able, and all the arts of life more flourishing, if we had 
remained colonies of the British empire instead of becoming 
an independent nation. 

If you had remained under Great Britain, you would be 
free from the scourge of lynch law with its two hundred 
victims every year ; you would be free from the burning of 
negroes at the stake ; and from the wholesale murder and 


assassinations which have prevailed in parts of your 
country. Such conditions are unknown under British rule. 
By remaining under Great Britain you would have avoided 
the Civil War of 1861, with all its train of evils, the 
long years of misgovernment which preceded it when the 
slaves were escaping to the free States, and the frightful 
misgovernment of the carpet-bag and reconstruction period, 
because all your slaves would have been set free and their 
owners paid their value in 1833, when slavery was abolished 
by England in all her colonies. In a similar way you would 
have escaped your vast political corruption and the dis- 
graceful misgovernment of your large cities. You made 
a mistake when you broke up the British empire in 1776. 
The patriots of 1776, however, believed that they had 
ideas to contribute, and a mission to accomplish in spite of 
bad government, or through bad government, as every other 
nation and individual has done. They were seized with 
the spirit of independence, and believed that as a separate 
people they had an inalienable right to rule themselves ; 
and, if they chose, rule themselves badly. Liberty with- 
out independence to decide what their liberty or what their 
development should be was of little value in their eyes. 




I HAVE described the patriot party as moving towards 
independence, and have given many instances to show that 
that was their intention. Sometimes the intention, though 
partially veiled, was notorious, as in the case of such men 
as Samuel Adams ; sometimes it was openly expressed, as 
in such newspapers as the Boston Gazette; and very often 
it was nourished in secret, or the individuals who enter- 
tained it were scarcely conscious of how far they were 
going, or were timid and hesitating about the risks to be run. 

If we assume that the patriots really thought that Eng- 
land would frankly approve of all they were doing, repeal 
to order her acts of Parliament, and give the colonists 
what they wanted, we must suppose them to have been 
very childlike. Such sublime confidence that England 
would see the great question exactly as they saw it would 
have been very beautiful and touching. 

There may have been some who attained this romantic 
state of mind. As the loyalists idealized the strength and 
power of England, believed it irresistible, and believed it 
also beneficial, and lovable even as a conqueror, and were 
willing to accept it as a conqueror without any guarantees 
or securities for their own liberties, so these childlike 
rebels on their side may have idealized it as too strong, 
too magnanimous and just to be other than as liberal and 
freedom-loving as themselves. 

Many of them perhaps had hardly yet become aware 
that in living by themselves for nearly two hundred years 
they had grown into a totally different moral fibre ; and 


that although they used the same language and laws, and 
the same furniture and linen as the English, swore the 
same oaths and drank the same toasts as England, they 
were in character and principle as far removed from the 
majority of her people as though they belonged to another 
race. Unconsciously they had been wrought by climate, 
association, and environment into a distinct and different 
people, a people of keener, broader intelligence, and more 
determined energy and courage. They were already a 
separate people without fully knowing it. 

The inward struggles of some of the loyalists who had 
become partially Americanized without knowing it were 
very pathetic. Curwen and Van Schaack, both of whom 
sought refuge in England, reveal this all through their 
diaries and letters. In America their imaginations had 
been fed with pleasing tales of the charms of English life 
and the honor and liberal intentions of British statesmen. 
They were both bitterly disappointed. Van Schaack 
completely changed his opinions of the political intentions 
of the British government towards the colonies. Curwen, 
dealing more in details of every-day life, laments its dis- 
comfort and unhappiness. " The fires here," he says, " are 
not to be compared to our large American ones of oak and 
walnut, nor near so comfortable. Would that I was away." 
He had thought he was going "home," as some of the 
colonists with strange simplicity called England ; but he 
says he finds himself in a {( country of aliens." He was 
treated with arrogance and contempt. He was told to 
his face that Americans were a " sort of serfs." He was 
expected to be servile and subservient. London he calls 
a " sad lick penny ;" and he is heartily tired of it.* 

Both he and Van Schaack, and their fathers before them, 
had lived so long in the colonies that in heart and habit 
* Curwen's Journal and Letters, 45, 57, 59, etc. 


they were Americanized beyond recall. But by study at 
a distance they had so convinced their minds, or imagina- 
tions, of the splendor of the British empire that when 
their fellow-colonists doubted the immaculateness of British 
rule, and, above all, when they thought they could govern 
themselves without it, the ludicrousness of the suggestion 
was overwhelming. 

In describing the different ways in which the growing 
sense or instinct of a separate nationality was affecting the 
people, it is due to my readers to say that some Americans 
have denied that there was any feeling of this sort. They 
have denied most positively that there was any desire for 
independence, and have adopted the modern English 
opinion that independence was forced upon us suddenly 
against our will. 

For my part I find it difficult to understand how a 
million or more colonists could suddenly decide on a dash 
for independence, maintain the struggle for seven years, 
refusing every proposal for peace that offered less than 
absolute independence, unless they had been passionately 
nourishing that idea for a long period of time. But, if 
we are to believe certain statesmen and historians, they not 
only did not entertain such an idea for any long period, 
but detested the thoughts of it until the summer of 1776, 
and then shed tears over it. 

Of course, it is true that all the patriot documents are 
full of profuse expressions of the most devoted loyalty, 
and the leaders were constantly putting forth these profuse 
expressions. If such assertions are proof, it is easy enough 
to accumulate great numbers of them. In fact, judged by 
their documents, the nearer the patriots approached to the 
year 1 776, the more devoted, loving, and loyal they became. 
If we can accept their own account of themselves, they 
were more loyal than the Tories in England. 


Washington, while attending the Congress at Philadel- 
phia, wrote to a loyalist, October 9, 1774 : 

"Give me leave to add, and I think I can announce it as a fact, 
that it is not the wish or interest of that government (Massachusetts) 
or any other upon this continent, separately or collectively, to set up 
for independence. 1 '"Works, Ford edition of 1889, vol. ii. p. 443. 

That was a safe statement, because it spoke of the gov- 
ernments of the colonies, not of a party or individuals. 
The government of Massachusetts was at that time under 
the military control of General Gage and the loyalists, and 
certainly had not the slightest intention of attempting in- 
dependence. None of the colony governments, as govern- 
ments, had any wish at that time to make such an attempt. 
Some of them were in the hands of moderates or loyalists, 
axid it would not have been for the interest even of those 
in the hands of patriots to make any move for indepen- 
dence. It was too dangerous and too impractical ; the time 
had not, in the opinion of any, yet arrived. As to what 
the government formed by the rebel party in Massachu- 
setts wanted to do about independence, we shall see when 
we come to treat of the Suffolk resolutions. 

Washington's statement refers only to what would be 
outwardly and openly done, and in that respect is en- 
tirely correct. It is entirely consistent with a determina- 
tion in his heart, and in the hearts of thousands of others, 
to make a break for independence at the first opportunity. 

Franklin, in England, in August, 1774, was talking 
with Lord Chatham about American affairs. His lordship 
favored the withdrawal of troops and very liberal treat- 
ment of the Americans. But he said it had been reported 
that they aimed at statehood and independence, and to that 
he was unalterably opposed. Franklin replied with the 
very sweeping assertion that has been so often quoted : 


1 ' I assured him that having more than once travelled almost from one 
end of the continent to the other, and kept a great variety of company, 
eating, drinking, and conversing with them freely, I never had heard 
in any conversation from any person, drunk or sober, the least ex- 
pression of a wish for a separation, or hint that such a thing would be 
advantageous to America." Works, Bigelow edition, vol. v. pp. 
445, 446. 

But the word independence had several meanings. 
Franklin says that he had never heard the colonists wish 
" for a separation, or hint that such a thing would be ad- 
vantageous." If questioned closely, he and they would 
have said that they did not wish to be absolutely sep- 
arated ; they wished merely to be separated from Parlia- 
ment and retain such a connection with the crown that 
it would be a protectorate for them against other nations. 
This was the old device to which they all tightly clung, 
and, under the circumstances, we cannot blame them. 

"When Franklin made that sweeping statement to Lord 
Chatham in 1774, he had been away from America for ten 
years ; and he could have said that he was speaking of his 
experiences before the French War closed. It was a state- 
ment of diplomacy, and Franklin was in a delicate po- 
sition. Lord Chatham and a large section of the Whigs, 
who were straining every nerve to restore themselves 
to office and power by means of the disturbances in 
America, were obliged, of course, to base their assistance 
of the Americans on the understanding that those rebels 
were seeking merely a redress of grievances, and not abso- 
lute independence. Franklin's whole course of conduct in 
England was devoted to assisting the Whig party. He be- 
lieved that if that party could get into power they would 
be very favorably inclined towards the patriots. But if 
he once, for a moment, admitted that the patriots were bent 
on independence, his usefulness to the Whigs was gone. 

It is difficult to believe that Franklin meant to say that 


there was no general movement for independence either 
absolute, as advocated by men like Samuel Adams and 
newspapers like the Boston Gazette, or modified, as ad- 
vocated by the moderate patriots who seemed to be willing 
to accept an independence which would leave the American 
communities distinct states, entirely free from all control 
of Parliament, and attached to England only by the slight 
thread of a protectorate against foreign invasions. If he 
intended to make a complete and absolute denial, he is 
contradicted by a great deal of evidence. I have already, 
in the first chapter, cited the passage from Kalm, who 
travelled in the colonies in 1748, and described the move- 
ment for independence as so advanced that the people were 
prophesying a total separation within thirty or fifty years, 
which prophecy was literally fulfilled. Franklin himself, 
in 1766, two years after he went to England, had received 
a letter from Joseph Galloway describing the plans for 

11 A certain sect of people, if I may judge from their late conduct, 
seem to look on this as a favorable opportunity of establishing their 
republican principles, and of throwing off all connection with their 
mother-country. Many of their publications justify the thought. 
Besides, I have other reasons to think that they are not only forming 
a private union among themseves from one end of the continent to the 
other, but endeavoring also to bring into this union the Quakers and 
all other dissenters, if possible." Sparks ; s "Franklin, 77 vol. vii. 
p. 303. This letter is dated January 13, 1766. 

John Wesley, in one of his pamphlets, says that his 
brother visited the colonies in 1737, and reported "the 
most serious people and men of consequence almost contin- 
ually crying out we must be independent ; we shall never 
be well until we shake off the English yoke," * Galloway, 

* "A Calm Address to the Inhabitants of England,' 7 pp. 6, 9, 
London, 1777. 


in his examination before the House of Commons, testified 
that there had been a considerable number of persons who 
advocated independence in the principal towns of the 
colonies as early as 1754. Dr. Eliot, writing to England, 
in 1767, says, "We are not ripe for disunion; but our 
growth is so great that in a few years Great Britain will 
not be able to compel our submission."* 

That very plain-spoken Englishman, Dean Tucker, 
writing in 1774, took a common-sense view when he said, 

" It is the nature of them all (i.e., colonies) to aspire after indepen- 
dence, and to set up for themselves as soon as ever they find they are 
able to subsist without being beholden to the mother-country, and if 
our Americans have expressed themselves sooner on this head than 
others have done, or in a more direct and daring manner, this ought 
not to be imputed to any greater malignity.'' "The True Interest 
of Great Britain set forth," p. 12. See, also, Stedman, " American 
War," vol. i. p. 1, London, 1794. 

* Massachusetts Historical Society, 4th series, vol. iv. p. 240 ; 
"EjOm's Travels," vol. i. p. 265. A pamphlet called "The Con- 
duct of the Late Administration examined," pp. 22, 31, 37, 43, 44, 
45, London, 1767, refers to the plans for independence in numerous 
passages. People were saying that their children would l live to see 
a duty laid by Americans on some things imported from Great 
Britain." The ministry, it was said, had been repeatedly informed of 
the plans for independence (p. 37). In "Reflections on the Present 
Combination of the American Colonies," p. 5, London, 1777, the 
author says he has been personally acquainted with the colonies for 
forty years, and that they had been talking independence all that time. 
"The principles they suck in with milk, " he says, "naturally lead to 
rebellion." On page 35 he gives the patriot toast to the mother- 

country as "Damn the old B ." See, also, Bancroft, "History 

of the United States," edition of 1883, vol. iii. pp. 406, 427 ; Boston 
Evening Post, May 27, June 24, October 28, 1765j Boston Gazette, 
January 6 and 27, March 2, August 17 and 24, November 1 and 2, 
1772; January 11, March 15, 1773 ; American Whig, April 11, 1768 j 
"Americans against Liberty," p. 39, London, 1776; "The Consti- 
tutional Bight of the Legislature of Great Britain to tax the British 
Colonies," pp. 27, 28, etpassim } London, 1768. 


That maker of sweeping phrases, John Adams, has often 
been quoted to show that there was no desire for indepen- 
dence, and that it was resorted to at last with regret and 

"There was not a moment during the Revolution when I would 
not have given everything I possessed for a restoration to the state of 
things before the contest "began, provided we could have had a suffi- 
cient security for its continuance. ' ' 

This statement was made in 1821, long after the Revo- 
lution was over, and is one of those carefully hedged 
generalities which public men know how to make when 
they wish to appear to have always been conservative. In 
his hopeless moments during the long contest, Adams no 
doubt often thought that he would give everything he 
possessed to go back to the old times, for if things went on 
as they were going, he soon might not have anything to 
possess, not even the head on his shoulders. 

He saves his statement by the proviso that there must 
be " sufficient security" for the continuance of the old 
times. There was the rub. England would not give that 
security. The only security, as Adams well knew, was 
independence. His statement, moreover, bears quite a 
different meaning when, the whole passage in which it 
occurs is read. 

" There is great ambiguity in the expression, there existed in the 
Colonies a desire of Independence. It is true there always existed in 
the Colonies a desire of Independence of Parliament, in the articles of 
internal Taxation, and internal policy ; and a very general if not a 
universal opinion, that they were constitutionally entitled to it, and as 
general a determination if possible to maintain, and defend it j but 
there never existed a desire of Independence of the Crown, or of gen- 
eral regulations of Commerce, for the equal and impartial benefit of all 
parts of the Empire. It is true there might be times and circum- 
stances in which an Individual, or a few Individuals, might entertain 


and express a wish that America was Independent in all respects, but 
these were ' Rari nantes in gurgite vasto. J For example in one thou- 
sand seven hundred and fifty-six, seven and eight, the conduct of the 
British Generals Shirley, Braddock, Loudon, Webb and Abercromby 
was so absurd, disastrous, and destructive, that a very general opinion 
prevailed that the "War was conducted by a mixture of Ignorance, 
Treachery and Cowardice, and some persons wished we had nothing to 
do with Great Britain for ever. Of this number I distinctly remem- 
ber, I was myself one, fully believing that we were able to defend our- 
selves against the French and Indians, without any assistance or 
embarrassment from Great Britain. In fifty-eight and fifty-nine, 
when Amherst and Wolfe changed the fortune of the War, by a more 
able and faithful conduct of it, I again rejoiced in the name of Britain, 
and should have rejoiced in it, to this day, had not the King and Par- 
liament committed high Treason and Eebellion against America as soon 
as they had conquered Canada, and made Peace with Prance. That 
there existed a general desire of Independence of the Crown in any 
part of America before the Revolution, is as far from the truth, as the 
Zenith is from the !N"adir. That the encroaching disposition of Great 
Britain was early foreseen by many wise men, in all the States; [that It] 
would one day attempt to enslave them by an unlimited submission to 
Parliament, and rule them with a rod of Iron ; that this attempt would 
produce resistance on the part of America, and an awful struggle was 
also foreseen, but dreaded and deprecated as the greatest Calamity that 
could befal them. For my own part, there was not a moment during 
the Revolution, when I would not have given every thing I possessed 
for a restoration to the State of things before the Contest began, pro- 
vided we could have had any sufficient security for its continuance. I 
always dreaded the Revolution as fraught with ruin, to me and my 
family, and indeed it has been but little better." Ifew England 
Historical and Genealogical Register, 1876, vol. xxx. p. 329. 

There we have it all; the whole story, and the old 
device of the king alone to which they always clung to 
save necks in case of failure. It should be observed that 
Adams says that he and his party were for independence 
in 1756-58 ; and this should be compared with the state- 
ments made by Franklin and others. Then he says that he 
became loyal, and would have remained a really good boy 
if it had not been for something that happened, namely, 



that "Parliament committed high treason and rebellion 
against America," which is a delightful way of putting it, 
and very characteristic of the Adams family. 

It should also be remembered that although Adams says 
that the patriots were entirely willing to remain under the 
king alone, yet when this very condition was offered to 
them bv the peace commissioners in 1778, they voted 
against it, and Adams himself was more ardent than any 
of them in opposing it. 

His final statement that the Revolution ruined him is 
very amusing. The Revolution was the making of him ; 
and without it. he would have remained insignificant. But 
he never got enough of anything, and he always considered 
himself abused. 

The truth is that, like many others, he was a rebel hot 
for independence from the day of his birth to the day of 
his death. His independence party was small before the 
year 1760 ; but it steadily grew, and was most diligently 
and shrewdly worked up and encouraged by himself, his 
cousin, and the other leaders. It was impossible for a man 
of his stamp to belong to any other party. 

They used to tell an apocryphal story about him which 
even if not true is very characteristic. When he lay 
dying at the great age of ninety-one, they roused him for 
a moment in order to hear his last words. The old hero 
was taken off his guard and had no time to hedge. " In- 
dependence forever," he said, and sank back dead. 

We might go on quoting John Jay, and also Thomas 
Jefferson, who wrote the Declaration of Independence, all 
of them positive that they never thought of such a thing 
until about five or six minutes before they did it ; and then 
it was contemplated " with affliction by all." No doubt 
there was much affliction, for it was a dangerous business. 
If, however, the affliction was so great, how was it that 


even in their darkest hours they refused all offers of com- 
promise, even the very terms of freedom from Parliament 
which they had themselves proposed ? * 

We can perhaps understand better how independence 
was secretly nourished when we remember the indomita- 
ble energy our climate produces ; how the desire to plan, 
to act, to do, to invent with surpassing ingenuity, and to 
be forever going, climbing, and achieving is uncontrollable. 
The patriot colonists who had been born in the country, and 
their fathers before them, were of this sort. Colonialism, 
with the essential political degradation entailed on even the 
best and most liberally governed colony, exasperated them. 

They may have said all sorts of things about " home/' 
king, and loyalty. They had been brought up under the 
British monarchy, and among such people such phrases 
became a habit. It was also important for them not to 
alarm the moderate or hesitating patriots by word or 
action that would be too direct. Those followers had 
to be educated and led by degrees. Thousands of them 
were in terrible uncertainty. At the thought of indepen- 
dence they trembled about the future which they could not 
see or fathom ; on which was no landmark or familiar 
ground ; and which their imaginations peopled with mon- 
sters and dragons like those with which the old geogra- 
phers before Columbus filled the Western Ocean. We 
laugh at their fears because that future has now become 
the past. But their fears were largely justified by the his- 
tory of the world up to that time. 

* "Bob Jingle, 7 ' in a coarse verse in his "Association," satirizes 
the excessive loyalty and grief at the thought of separation which the 
patriots professed to feel. 

" With anxious cares and griefs oppressed 

Our inmost bowels rumble ; 
And truly we are so distressed 
Our very guts they grumble." 


They felt that the old argument with which the loyalists 
continually plied them might very well be true. The colo- 
nies, if left to themselves, would fight one another about 
their boundaries. They had been quarrelling about boun- 
daries for a century, with England for their final arbiter. 
What would they do when they had no arbiter but the 
might of the strongest? Would not Pennsylvania com- 
bine with the South to conquer New England ? or, more 
likely still. New England would combine with New York 
to conquer all the South, New York, for the sake 
of her old Dutch idea of trade, and New England, for 
the sake of improving the fox-hunting, Sabbath-breaking 
Southerner and freeing his slaves; for the estrangement 
between North and South on the slavery question was al- 
ready quite obvious at the time of the Revolution. Then 
there would be rebellions and struggles to reform the map 
and straighten the lines and boundaries. If in the confu- 
sion France or Spain did not gobble them up, or England 
reduce them again to colonies, they would likely enough 
try to form a confederacy among themselves for protection 
against Europe. Then there would be one war to decide 
which section should have the commercial advantage of 
the seat of government in this confederacy, and another 
war to decide what should be the form of government of 
the confederacy, monarchical, aristocratic, or republican, 
and probably a third war to establish securely the form 
of government finally adopted.* 

We must remember that in South America there has 
been much confusion and misgovernment as the result of 

* "A Candid Examination of the Mutual Claims of Great Britain 
and the Colonies," p. 47, New York, 1775; " What think ye of the 
Congress now?" p. 25, New York, 1775; "Works of John Adams, 
vol. ii. p. 351; "The Origin of the American Contest with Great 
Britain, " ISTew York, 1775; Bancroft, " History of the United States," 
edition of 1886, vol. v. p. 406. 


independence, and out of it only two stable governments 
Chili and Brazil have as yet arisen. The monsters that 
the timid ones saw were unquestionably possibilities ; and 
the loyalist prophecies of sectional war have been largely 
fulfilled, We have not had quite as many sectional wars 
as they foretold. But we have had one great war between 
the North and the South, very much as they prophesied ; 
and in costliness, slaughter, and fierceness of contest far 
exceeding their warnings. 

They prophesied also that even if, with the assistance 
of France, a sort of independence was won, it would be an 
independence only on the land. Great Britain would still 
retain sovereignty on the sea ; and there would be another 
war or series of wars over this question. This happened 
exactly as they foretold, and thirty years after the "Revolu- 
tion we fought the war of 1812, often called at the time 
of its occurrence the Second War for Independence. 

With these monsters before their eyes the rebel colonists 
hesitated, deceived themselves, or resorted to shrewdness. 
They had mental reservations and cautious politic insin- 
cerities. They caught at every foolish straw, and the most 
extraordinary one of all was that the colonies should be 
ruled by the king alone ; that by this invisible thread they 
would remain a part of the British empire, and always 
have the advantage of its steadying hand, with Parliament 
merely an object of outside historic interest. They would 
always pray for the king, as some one in New England 
suggested, and would kindly vote him from time to time 
little presents of money to help him in his wars, he in re- 
turn to protect them from the ravages of the great powers, 
France and Spain, and possibly from their own disunion 
and anarchy. 



IN spite of the disturbed and dangerous position in which 
they found themselves, the patriot leaders seem to have 
thought that the wisest course was to place complete confi- 
dence in the Congress and declare that it would strike a 
compromise and settle the whole difficulty. It is not prob- 
able, however, that those who talked so profusely about 
this hope had any confidence in it. Certainly men of the 
Samuel Adams type had no intention of compromising. 

The Congress held its sessions in Philadelphia in a neat 
brick building used by a sort of guild called the Carpen- 
ters* Company, and both the building and the guild are 
still preserved. The session lasted from September 5 until 
October 26, a delightful time of year to be in the metropolis 
of the colonies and discuss great questions of state. 

Forty-four delegates at first assembled, and within a few 
weeks the number increased to fifty-two. Most of them 
were capable, and some of them became very conspicuous 
men. Among the striking characters were Samuel Adams 
and his cousin, John Adams, accompanied by the lesser 
lights, Gushing and Paine, who made up the Massachusetts 
delegation. These delegates, coming from poor, crippled 
Boston, supported by charity under the exactions of the 
Port Bill, were the most violent of all the members. They 
were known to be so hot for extreme measures that some 
of the patriot party rode out to meet them before they 
reached the town, warned them to be careful, and not to 
utter the word independence.* 

* Hosmer, " Life of Samuel Adams," p. 313. 


From Virginia came Randolph, Washington, Henry, 
Bland, Harrison, and Pendleton, the best delegates of all, 
fully as much in earnest as the Boston men, but with a 
broader range of ability, and more calm and judicious. 
From South Carolina came Middleton, John Eutledge, 
Gadsden, Lynch, and Edward Rutledge, who were almost 
if not quite the equals of the Virginians. Pennsylvania 
sent a very conservative but not very strong delegation. 
Galloway was the only eminent man in it. A few weeks 
later Dickinson was added. A year or two later the addi- 
tion of Eobert Morris, Franklin, and Dr. Eush made a 
considerable change in this delegation's conservatism. The 
little community of Delaware sent three good men, 
McKean, Eodney, and Eead. From New York John 
Jay was the only delegate who afterwards attained much 

The delegates and the townsfolk seem to have enjoyed 
most thoroughly the excitement of that session of nearly 
two months. The early steps of a rebellion are easy and 
fascinating. The golden October days and the bracing 
change to the cool air of autumn were a delightful medium 
in which to discuss great questions of absorbing interest ; 
see and hear the ablest and most attractive men from the 
colonies ; and dine at country places and the best inns. It 
was a mental enlargement and an experience which must 
have been long remembered by every one. 

Every form of festivity and pleasure going increased. 
Many who afterwards were loyalists, or neutrals, could as 
yet be on friendly terms with patriots ; for was not the 
avowed intention merely to accomplish redress of griev- 
ances. No one had ever seen the streets so crowded with 
the bright and gay colors of the time. We read in Adams's 
diary that one of the delegates from New Jersey was very 
much condemned because he " wore black clothes and his 


own hair." Everybody saw all the delegates, and there 
were few who could not boast of having had a word with 
some of them in the streets, shops, or market-place. 

Philadelphia was at that time a pretty place on the 
water side. The houses, wharves ; warehouses, and inns 
were scattered in picturesque confusion along the river 
front from Vine Street to South Street, a distance of exactly 
one mile. Westward, the town reached back from the 
river about half a mile to the present Fifth Street. The 
chime of bells in the steeple of Christ Church was an object 
of great interest. These bells played tunes on market 
days, as well as Sundays, for the edification of the country 
people, who had come in with their great wagon-loads of 
poultry and vegetables. 

John Adams relates how he arid some of the delegates 
climbed up into the steeple of Christ Church and looked 
over all the roofs of the town, and saw the country with 
its villas and woods beyond. It was their first bird's-eye 
view of the metropolis of the colonies of which they had 
so often heard ; and they thought it a wonderful sight. 

The Philadelphia Library, founded by Franklin and 
James Logan, had its rooms in the Carpenters' Hall. The 
directors of the library passed a vote giving the Congress 
free use of all the books. No doubt some of them worked 
hard among the volumes, burying themselves in G-rotius, 
Pufiendorf, Burlamaqui, and Locke. It was their duty to 
understand the state of nature and the natural rights of 
man; those arguments which showed that rebellion was 
sometimes not treason. They must have read with hard, 
uneasy faces the recent heroic struggles, but sad fate, of 
Corsica, of Poland, and of Sweden. 

Both John and Samuel Adams and all of the Massachu- 
setts delegates pressed hard for resolutions which would 
commit all the colonies to the cause of Boston, as Boston 


had chosen to make her cause. She would not yield, would 
not pay for the tea, nor would she pay damages of any 
sort. The British troops must be withdrawn, the Boston 
Port Bill must be repealed, the act altering the govern- 
ment of Massachusetts must be repealed, and also the 
ten or twelve other acts which were not acceptable in 
America. The Congress sat with closed doors, and noth- 
ing, as a rule, was known of their proceedings except the 
results which took the shape of certain documents, which 
shall be discussed in their place. There was, however, 
one act of the Congress known as the approval of the 
Suffolk resolutions, which became known at the time of 
its occurrence, which committed the Congress irrevocably 
to the cause of Boston and marked a turning-point in the 

Paul Revere, deserting his silversmith shop and his 
engraving tools, rode to and fro from Boston to Philadel- 
phia on horseback, carrying documents and letters in his 
saddle-bags. He had already, it appears, on several 
occasions during the Massachusetts disturbances, volun- 
tarily acted as messenger in this way. He was evidently 
fond of horses. He had been shut up for so many years 
hammering out silly little tea-pots and sugar-bowls and 
wearing out his eyesight with engraving-tools that he no 
doubt found himself delighted with this excuse for riding 
over the wild woodland roads of the colonies. 

Within a week or two after the Congress met he started 
from Boston with a copy of the famous Suffolk resolutions, 
which had been passed that day by Suffolk County, in 
which Boston was situated, and within a few days the Suf- 
folk firebrands were laid before the Congress. 

The purpose of these resolutions, which were passed by 
a meeting of delegates from all the towns of Suffolk 
County, was to create a new government for Massar- 


chusetts, independent of the government under the charter 
as modified by Parliament and now administered by Gen- 
eral Gage. To that end the Suffolk resolutions declared 
that no obedience was due from the people to either 
the Boston Port Bill or to the act altering the charter; 
that no regard should be paid to the present judges 
of the courts, and that sheriffs, deputies, constables, and 
jurors must refuse to carry into execution any orders of 
the courts. Creditors, debtors, and litigants were advised 
to settle their disputes amicably or by arbitration. This 
had the effect desired and abolished the administration of 
the law for a long period in Massachusetts, a period 
extremely interesting to political students for the ease 
with which the people, by tacit consent, got on without 
the aid of those essential instrumentalities. 

The resolutions further recommended that collectors of 
taxes and other officials having public money in their 
hands should retain those funds and not pay them over 
to the government under Gage until all disputes were 

The persons who had accepted seats on the council board 
under the Gage government were bluntly told that they 
were wicked persons and enemies of the country, which 
was in effect to turn the mob upon them at the first oppor- 
tunity. The patriot inhabitants of each town were 
instructed to form a militia, to learn the art of war as 
speedily as possible, but for the present to act only on the 
defensive. If any patriots were seized or were arrested, 
officials of the Gage government must be seized and held 
as hostages. All this was rather vigorous rebellion, which 
could not be leniently regarded in England ; and, finally, it 
was recommended that all the towns of the colony should 
choose delegates to a provincial congress to act in place of 
the assembly under the Gage government. 


This provincial congress was elected, and the govern- 
ment thus suggested by the Suffolk resolutions became the 
government of Massachusetts for a long period during the 
Revolution. It is quite obvious that the resolutions 
were in effect a declaration of independence by the patriots 
of Massachusetts, although the word independence was not 
used. If Congress approved of them, approved of a gov- 
ernment set up by the patriots in hostility to the British 
government, it was certainly committing the rest of the 
colonies to an open rebellion and war unless England was 
willing to back down completely, as she had done in the 
case of the Stamp Act and the paint, paper, and glass act, 
and be ordered about by the colonies. 

Besides creating a new government for Massachusetts 
the Suffolk resolutions contained some strong expressions 
not likely to assist the cause of peace. England was de- 
scribed as a parricide aiming a dagger at " our bosoms." 
The continent was described as " swarming with millions" 
who would not yield to slavery or robbery or allow the 
streets of Boston to be " thronged with military execu- 
tioners." The people were described as originally driven 
from England by persecution and injustice, and they would 
never allow the desert they had redeemed and cultivated 
to be transmitted to their innocent offspring, clogged with 
shackles and fettered with power. 

Violent as were the Suffolk resolutions, the Congress 
approved of them in a resolution justifying the Massachu- 
setts patriots in all they had done. If it had ever been a 
Congress for mere redress of grievances, it was now cer- 
tainly changed and had become a Congress for making a 
new nation. The veil, as the loyalists said, was now 
drawn aside and independence stood revealed. From that 
moment the numbers of the loyalists rapidly increased. 
This new step separated them more and more from tiie 


patriots with whom many of them had heretofore been 

There was an important and far-reaching measure of 
conservatism proposed in the Congress, but it utterly 
failed. Galloway offered a plan which would in effect 
have been a constitutional union between the colonies and 
the mother-country. There was to be a Parliament or 
Congress elected by all the colonies and to hold its sessions 
at Philadelphia. It should be a branch of the Parliament 
in England ; and no act relating to the colonies should be 
valid unless it was accepted by both the Parliament in 
Philadelphia and the Parliament in England. This would, 
it was said, settle all difficulties in the future ; for it would 
be a practical method of obtaining the " consent of Amer- 
ica," which the patriots were saying was necessary to the 
validity of an act of Parliament which was to be applied 
to the colonies. 

The plan represented the loyalist opinion, and would in 
their view have prevented all taxation or internal regula- 
tion, and have amply safeguarded all the liberties for 
which the patriots professed to be contending. There was 
sufficient conservatism in the Congress to approve of it so 
far as to refer it under their rule for further consideration. 
But soon all proceedings connected with it were ordered to 
be expunged from the minutes so that they could never be 
read. As the meetings were secret, it may have been sup- 
posed that no news of it would get abroad. But the loy- 
alists took pains to spread the history of it. They charged 
that the Congress had expunged the proceedings because 

* " A Friendly Address to all Seasonable Americans, " p. 32, 
York, 1774; "The Congress canvassed," p. 5, New York, 1774; 
"An Alarm to the Legislature of the Province of New York," New 
York, 1775 j " Free Thoughts on the Proceedings of the Congress," 
York, 1774. 


they feared that the mass of the people might hear of the 
plan and be willing to have a reconciliation effected on such 
a basis without an attempt at independence. They circu- 
lated printed copies of the plan and declared that the 
attempt to suppress it by expunging showed a clear inten- 
tion to secretly kill all efforts at reconciliation. 

The Congress closed its session, and Wednesday, Oc- 
tober 26, was the last day. Many of the members ap- 
pear to have lingered for a day or two longer. But on 
Friday there was a general exodus. It was raining hard, 
John Adams tells us in his diary, as he took his departure 
from Philadelphia, which he described as " the happy, the 
peaceful, the elegant, the hospitable, and the polite." 
There was perhaps a covert sneer in the words. He had 
found it too peaceful, too elegant, too polite and happy to 
be as forward as he wished in rebellion and revolution. 
However, he professed to believe that he would never have 
to see Philadelphia again, because the British lion would 

And what, pray, was to be the cause of this surrender? 
The Suffolk resolutions ? Yes, and several documents or 
state papers which the Congress had prepared and which 
were soon made public in newspapers and pamphlets. 

The first of these documents, called " The Declaration 
of Rights," merely recited again the arguments for free- 
dom from parliamentary control, which we have already 
discussed, and gave a list of a dozen or more acts of Par- 
liament which should be repealed. 

The next document, the "Association," as it was called, 
was quite remarkable and curious. It was signed by all 
the delegates on behalf of themselves and of those whom 
they represented, and was intended to be the most com- 
plete non-importation, non-exportation, and non-consump- 
tion agreement that had yet been attempted. The pre- 


vious measures of this sort which had been so effective 
had been voluntary and tacit understandings carried out in 
a general way* But this association of the Congress was 
intended to be systematic, thorough, and compulsory. The 
whole British trade was interdicted, and punishments were 
most ingeniously provided for those merchants who would 
not obey. 

Although it was in form only an agreement, yet it 
was worded as if it were a law passed by a legislative 
body. In some paragraphs we find it speaking as a mere 
agreement, as, for example, " we will use our utmost en- 
deavors to improve the breed of sheep ;" or " we will, in 
our several States, encourage frugality, economy," etc. In 
other paragraphs it speaks in the language of a legislature : 

( l That a committee "be chosen in every county, city, and town by 
those who are qualified to vote for representatives in the legislature, 
whose business it shall be attentively to observe the conduct of all per- 
sons touching this association. " 

A large part of the document is taken up with these 
positive commands, directing the committees of correspond- 
ence to inspect the entries in " their custom-houses ;" di- 
recting owners of vessels to give positive orders to their 
captains, and directing that all manufactures be sold at 
reasonable prices. 

The Congress, it must be remembered, had no law- 
making power. It was a mere convention, without any 
authority of law. Yet here it was adroitly arrogating to 
itself legislative functions. From our point of view, it 
was a most interesting beginning of the instinctive feeling 
of nationality and union, the determination, consciously or 
unconsciously, to form a nation out of a convention that 
had been called only for " a redress of grievances." The 
phrase by which the rebel committees of correspondence 


were directed to inspect " their custom-houses" was beau- 
tiful in its ingenuousness. 

But the loyalists were unable to see it in this light. 
They attacked it at once as a usurpation ; and they called 
on all the legislative assemblies of the colonies to protect 
themselves against this monster of a Congress, which 
would soon take away from them all of their power. From 
a legal point of view the loyalist position was unquestion- 
ably sound, for the assemblies in each colony were the 
only bodies that had any law-making power. The Con- 
gress seemed to the loyalists to threaten an American 
republic, and their premonition was certainly justified by 
events : 

" Are you sure," asks a loyalist, "that while you are supporting 
the authority of the Congress, and exalting it over your own legis- 
lature, that you are not nourishing and "bringing to maturity a grand 
American Republic, which shall after a while rise to power and gran- 
deur, upon the ruins of our present constitution. To me the danger 
appears more than possible. The outlines of it seem already to be 
drawn. "We have had a grand Continental Congress at Philadelphia. 
Another is to meet in May next. There has been a Provincial Con- 
gress held in Boston government. And as all the colonies seem fond 
of imitating Boston politics, it is very probable that the scheme will 
spread and increase ; and in a little time the Commonwealth be com- 
pletely formed.'* "The Congress canvassed, " p. 24, New York, 

There was a considerable body of people at that time who 
assumed, as a matter of course, that an American republic 
would be anything but a blessing. With the tar and 
feathers and other persecutions of loyalists before their eyes, 
they took for granted that such a republic would be even 
worse than what we now derisively call a South American 
republic, a Dominica or a Haiti. 

They were still more shocked when they read in the 
association how the Congress intended to have its at- 


tempted laws and commands enforced. Those who would 
not obey the rules of the association against importing 
and exporting were to have their names published as ene- 
mies of the country, and no one was to buy from them or 
sell to them ; they were to be cut off from intercourse with 
their fellows ; to be ostracized and outlawed. In short, 
they were to be boycotted, as we would now say, and 
turned over to the mob. 

In this arrangement and in the committees that were to 
pry about and act as informers, the loyalists easily saw a 
most atrocious violation of personal liberty. These county 
committees, who were given the judicial power to publish, 
denounce, and ruin people merely of their own motion, with- 
out any of the usual safeguards of courts, evidence, proof, 
or trial, would, they said, be worse than the inquisition. 
How could the patriots, they said, consistently object to 
admiralty courts when they were setting up these ex- 
traordinary tribunals that could condemn men unseen and 
unheard? They looked forward to a long reign of an- 
archy ; and their expectations were largely fulfilled. Meu 
like John Adams admitted the injustice and cruelty of the 
patriot committees, and dreaded the effect of them on 
American morals and character.* 

The tenth article of the association provided that if any 
goods arrived for a merchant they were to be seized ; if he 
would not reship them, they were to be sold, his necessary 
charges repaid, and the profits to go to the poor of Boston. 
In other words, said the loyalists, a man's private property 
is to be taken from him, without his consent, by the ' ' reoom- 

* " The Congress canvassed, ' ' pp. 14-20, tfew York, 1774 ; Adams, 
Works, vol. iii. p. 34. For the injustice and unfairness of the meas- 
ures for forcing the paper money upon the people at its par value, see 
Phillips, "Sketches of American Paper Currency," vol. ii. pp. 63, 65, 
67, 70, 154, 158. 


mendation" of a Congress that has no legal power ; and the 
same Congress is sending petitions to England arguing that 
Parliament cannot tax us because it would be taking our 
property without our consent. 

It would be easy to multiply these inconsistencies ; and 
the more the loyalists called attention to them the more the 
patriots felt compelled to violate personal liberty in sup- 
pressing the loyalists, until free speech was extinguished 
and thousands of loyalists driven from the country. On a 
smaller scale, and with less wholesale atrocity, it was like 
the French Revolution, in which we are told that " the 
revolutionary party felt themselves obliged to take stringent 
measures ; that is, the party which asserted the rights of 
man felt themselves obliged to refuse to those who opposed 
them the exercise of those rights." * 

Every provision in the association shows a people who 
were uniting in a struggle for nationality, and therefore 
cared little for their inconsistencies or violation of rights. 
Struggles for independence are not apt to be tame or neces- 
sarily moral. There is nothing so elementary and natural 
as the nation-forming instinct ; its efforts are always vio- 
lent ; and in such a contest the laws are thrust aside. 

For the milder forms of this struggle as shown in the 
association,, we find them agreeing to kill as few lambs as 
possible, to start domestic manufactures, and to encourage 
agriculture, especially wool, so as to be independent of Eng- 
land in the matter of clothing. And they were trying to 
be economical, to discourage horse-racing, gaming, cock- 
fighting, shows, and plays, and to give up the extravagant 
mourning-garments and funerals which were so excessive 
and expensive at that time. 

Another document put forth by the Congress was " The 

* Rope, "Napoleon," p. 8. 


Address to the People of Great Britain." It claimed for 
the Americans all the privileges of British subjects, the 
right of disposing of their own property and of ruling 
themselves. "Why should " English subjects, who live 
three thousand miles from the royal palace, enjoy less 
liberty than those who are three hundred miles distant 
from it" Like all the other documents, it had much to 
say about the wickedness of the Quebec Act, which had 
established Roman Catholicism in Canada ; and it argued 
over again all this old ground. 

The only striking part of it was an argument that if the 
ministry were allowed to tax and rule America as they 
pleased, the enormous streams of wealth to be gathered 
from such a vast continent, together with the Roman 
Catholic inhabitants of Canada, would be used to inflict 
some terrible and vague persecution and tyranny on the 
masses of the people in England. This attempt to excite 
the English masses against Parliament and the ministry 
was very much resented in England, and was not likely to 
bring a favorable compromise any more than was a similar 
attempt to arouse rebellion in Ireland, which was tried the 
next year. 

Another document, called " An. Address to the Inhabi- 
tants of Canada/ 5 was much ridiculed by both the loyalists 
and the English, because it was so absurdly inconsistent 
with "The Address to the People of Great Britain." In 
addressing the people of England the Congress had vilified 
and abused the religion of the Canadians as despotism, 
murder, persecution, and rebellion. Yet they asked those 
same Canadians to join the rebellious colonies against Eng- 
land; and they sent to them a long document patronizing 
and instructing them in their rights, and quoting Monte- 
squieu and other Frenchmen, to show what a mistake they 
were making by submitting to the tyranny of Great Britain. 


The Canadians would, of course, see both documents and 
laugh at the Congress.* 

The last paper put forth by the Congress was "The 
Petition to the King/' drawn by Dickinson and intended 
to show conservative loyalty and save appearances. It 
was merely a well-worded restatement of the old argument 
against control by Parliament, and of the wish to be under 
the king aloue, to whom, according to this petition, the 
patriot colonists were most extravagantly devoted. 

These documents having been sent forth and the Con- 
gress adjourned, the people settled down to comparative 
quietude for the whole of the following winter. There was 
nothing more to be said, because what had been done had 
been done, and there was no help for it. The result must 
be calmly awaited during four or five months while the 
vessels that communicated with England should beat their 
way over and back against the winter gales of the 

* Codman, " Arnold's Expedition to Quebec," p. 9. 




"WE must go to England for a time and see the effect 
upon the English people of those documents which the 
ships carried. First of all we must make the acquaint- 
ance of William Howe, who soon had in his hands more 
power in the great controversy than any other person. He 
was a Whig member of Parliament, and had served in the 
House of Commons for some fifteen years, representing the 
town of Nottingham. His father had been Viscount Howe, 
of the Irish peerage. On the other side he was the first 
cousin once removed of the king ; for his mother was the 
illegitimate daughter of George I. by his mistress, the 
Hanoverian Baroness Kilmansegge. 

His elder living brother, Lord Richard Howe, was an 
admiral in the British navy. There had been a still older 
brother, George Howe, who had served as an officer in the 
colonies during the war with France. This brother, George, 
had been one of the few British officers whom the colonists 
had really liked. The Massachusetts Assembly had 
erected a monument to him in Westminster Abbey. 
Wolfe and Bouquet they had admired, but they were par- 
ticularly fond of George Howe, because he understood 
them and adopted their mode of life. He dismissed his 
retinue, equipage, and display of wines and high living, 
ate the colonists' plain fare, and drank their home brew, 
their punch, and their whiskey. He carried provisions on 
his back, went scouting with rangers, and slept on a bear- 
skin and a blanket. 

The Howes, we must remember, were Whigs of the 


extreme type. George, during his lifetime, had been the 
family member of Parliament, and had represented Not- 
tingham until he fell at Ticonderoga in 1758. As soon as 
his mother heard the news she issued an address to the 
electors asking them to choose her youngest son, William, 
which they promptly did ; and he seems to have thought 
of himself as continuing the existence and principles of 
his brother. , 

He had none of the personal attractiveness of his de- 
ceased brother. He had served in the colonies in the 
French War, and knew the people, but they never 
showed any particular regard or liking for him. He was, 
however, always popular with his soldiers and subordinate 
officers. He was excessively fond of gambling, and kept 
up this amusement wherever he was, whether in England 
or Am erica. But he was strong and shrewd enough not 
to allow himself to be ruined by it, as Charles Fox and so 
many others were at that time ; and he was generally be- 
lieved to have increased rather than diminished his fortune 
by the American war. 

In the introduction to his " Orderly Book," which has 
been published, it is said that he and others of his family 
were sullen, hard, and cruel. But, after having read a 
great deal about him, I do not think that this charge can 
be sustained. The only evidence that might sustain it is, 
that his commissaries allowed American prisoners to be 
starved and very severely treated. But other commanders, 
and the British government itself, allowed this sort of 
treatment. Galloway, who was by no means his friend, 
admits that he was a liberal man and not corrupt in money 
matters, except that he allowed illegitimate opportunities to 
his subordinates. I should say, from all the evidence, that 
General Howe, like the admiral and the rest of the family, 
was quite easy-going and generous ; and, as we shall see, 


he refused to obey the orders which directed him to be 
severe and cruel. 

His most conspicuous characteristic was great personal 
courage accompanied by a certain contemptuous indifference. 
In his methods he was very indirect, and this is strikingly 
shown in the evasive reasoning and misleading statements 
in his narrative of the war. He is described as a large 
man, of dark complexion, like all his family, and with 
heavy features and very defective teeth. 

His brother, the admiral, was so swarthy that the sailors 
called him Black Dick. He was, apparently, fond of 
business and details, never gambled or dissipated, and his 
face was rather refined and scholarly. He too was of an 
extremely liberal and generous disposition. Although he 
commanded a fleet to put down the American rebellion, he 
is known in history chiefly for his peace negotiations. 

As a member of Parliament and a politician of many 
years experience, General Howe had acted with his party 
in opposing the Stamp Act and other taxation measures. 
He thought it not only wrong to make war on the Ameri- 
cans, but useless and impractical. 

The Whigs, it must be remembered, were anxious to 
return to power and enjoy the patronage of the offices. 
The reorganization and remodelling of the colonies and 
subduing them to complete obedience were very popular 
measures with the majority of Englishmen, and gave the 
Tories what seemed to be an unassailable position. The 
Whigs had no choice but to attack all such measures. 
They must show that the subjugation of the colonies was 
wrong in principle and incapable of accomplishment. 

Howe finally told his constituents that if the command 
against the colonies were ofiered to him he would not 
accept it. This reckless remark was characteristic of 
him; and he made it, although knowing full well that 


he would be sent against the Americans in some capacity, 
and probably in chief command. 

Both he and his brother, the admiral, were so extremely 
liberal in their views that they could scarcely be called 
Englishmen. Had they been consistent they would have 
emigrated to America, for they belonged to the party that 
had largely peopled America. But where in America 
could the general have drawn such large salaries or found 
such gambling companions as he had in England ? 

It is important to remember the condition of parties in 
England and the phases of opinion among them during 
the Revolution. As time went on a large section of the 
Eockingham Whigs, and men like the Duke of Richmond 
and Charles Fox,* were in favor of allowing the colonies 
to form, if they could, an independent nation, just as, in 
the year 1901, a section of the liberal party were in favor 
of allowing the Boer republics of South Africa to retain 
their independence. 

The rest of the Whigs, represented by such men as 
Barr6, Burke, and Lord Chatham, would not declare them- 
selves for independence. They professed to favor retaining 
the American communities as colonies; but they would 
retain them by conciliation instead of by force and conquest. 
Their position was an impossible one, because conciliation 
without military force would necessarily result in inde- 
pendence. They professed to think that the colonies could 
be persuaded to make an agreement by which they would 
remain colonies. But such an agreement would be like a 
treaty between independent nations, and imply such power 
in the colonies that the next day they would construe it to 
mean independence. 

The Tories could see no merit in the independence of 

*Lecky, " England in the Eighteenth Century," edition of 1882, 
vol. iii. p. 644. 


any country except England. They believed that the 
colonies should remain completely subordinate depend- 
encies, like the English colonies of the present day ; and be 
allowed no more liberty or self-government than was for 
the advantage of the empire, and such as circumstances 
should from time to time indicate. 

As to the method of reducing the colonies to obedience, 
the Tories were somewhat uncertain. At first most of 
them, led by such men as Lord North, Lord Hillsborough, 
and Lord Dartmouth, were in favor of a rather mild 
method of warfare, accompanied by continual offers of 
conciliation and compromise. They were led to this 
partly by considerations of expense and the heavy debt 
already incurred by the previous war, by the desire to 
take as much wind as possible out of the sails of the 
"Whigs by adopting a semi-Whig policy, by the desire to 
avoid arousing such hatred and ill-will among the colo- 
nists as would render them difficult to govern in the 
future, and by the fear that the patriot party, if pressed 
too hard, would appeal to Prance or escape beyond the 
Alleghany Mountains and establish republican or rights 
of man communities which would be a perpetual menace 
and evil example to the seaboard colonies. 

Exactly how much conciliation and how much severity 
the ministry wished to have in their policy is difficult to 
determine. Within two or three years they changed it and 
favored a quick, sharp, relentless war, with such complete 
destruction and devastation of the country as would col- 
lapse the patriot party, avoid all necessity of any sort of 
compromise and leave the colonies to be remodelled and 
governed in any way the ministry saw fit. 

It is quite obvious that, besides getting aid from France, 
Spain, or Holland and their own personal powers, it was 
very important for the patriot party in the colonies to have 


the Whigs go into power, or come so near going into 
power that they would influence Tory policy. Many 
people believed that the whole question depended on the 
patriots holding out long enough to let the "Whigs get into 
power, and that if the Whigs were successful for only a 
few months the whole difficulty would be settled. When, 
finally, peace was declared and the treaty acknowledging 
independence signed in 1783, it was done by a Whig min- 
istry. Tories do not sign treaties granting independence. 

It is somewhat surprising to a modern American to find 
that a politician and a member of Parliament of such long 
service as Howe was also at the same time an officer of the 
British regular army. Under our national Constitution we 
have always avoided conferring conflicting offices and duties 
on the same person. But this principle of distinct separa- 
tion of the departments of government; which we have 
carried so far, was at that time not much regarded in 
England. Admiral Howe was also a member of Parlia- 
ment and so were Generals Burgoyne, Cornwallis, and 
Grant. Such a system may have worked well enough 
until the soldier or sailor was directed to carry out what 
as a politician he had opposed. 

That General Howe should take command if there was 
any serious war in America was inevitable. He was of 
suitable age and had at that time seen more successful 
service in actual warfare than any other officer of high 
rank in England, except possibly Amherst, the conqueror 
of Canada, who was getting old and does not seem to have 
been seriously thought of for the American command. 
Howe had been a great deal in America and had a most 
brilliant record of service. He had served as a lieutenant 
in the regiment of Wolfe, who had spoken highly of 
him. At the siege of Louisburg he had commanded a 
regiment as colonel. At the attack on Quebec he was 


again with Wolfe and led in person the forlorn hope up 
the intrenched path. In the expedition against Montreal 
the next year he commanded a brigade. He had another 
large command at the siege of Belle Isle on the coast of 
Brittany, and was adjutant-general of the army at the con- 
quest of Havana. For these services at the close of those 
wars he had been given the honorary position of governor 
of the Isle of Wight, and he was now a major-general, 
with a high reputation for efficiency and general knowl- 
edge of his profession. He had recently added to British 
army methods the improvement of lightly equipped com- 
panies, selected from the line regiments and drilled in 
quick movements.* 

He was, it seems, engaged in inaugurating this change 
in the summer of 1774, and when it was finished his 
troops were taken to London, and reviewed by the king in 
Richmond Park. Immediately after that he was busy in 
the great election of that autumn; for Parliament had 
been dissolved in September and a general election ordered 
to compose a new body of the Commons to meet on the 
29th of November. 

Prominent men were everywhere bustling about elec- 
tioneering, speech-making, writing pamphlets, buying and 
selling votes or boroughs. Howe appears to have had no 
trouble in being re-elected by Nottingham. Gibbon, while 
settling estates and turning magnificent periods about 
Roman emperors and Gothic chieftains, found time to 
attend so well to bis fences that he was easily seated for 
Liskeard. Dr. Johnson, anxious that his friend Mr. 
Thrale should be elected, and that the honor of Britain 

* The "best "biography of Howe is in the " English National Cyclo- 
paedia of Biography." His own narrative reveals a great deal; and 
there is, of course, much to "be learned in the accounts and criticisms 
of his campaigns. 


should be maintained, came out in an eloquent pamphlet 
against the American rebels, circulated far and wide, and 
called " The Patriot/ 3 for which he received a handsome 
sum from the Tory ministry. 

His brilliant and powerful pages were well calculated 
to arouse the natural British animosity against anything 
independent. The philosophic quotation from Milton, 
which was the pamphlet's motto, seemed to every scholarly 
mind a most apt description of the Americans. 

4 ' They "bawl for freedom in their senseless mood, 
Yet still revolt when truth would set them free. 
License they mean, when they cry liberty, 
For who loves that must first be wise and good. " 

How perfectly obvious it always is to any comfortable, 
wealthy, or scholarly mind that a high order of wisdom 
and goodness, higher even, perhaps, than that of his own 
people, must precede the grant of liberty. 

The ships which had sailed in the autumn with the 
documents of the American Congress, when scarcely ten 
days out, were driven back by a gale. They returned to 
port, and several weeks were lost before they were again 
on their way. But at last, about the middle of December, 
they began arriving here and there at different ports, and 
the petition, the declaration of rights, the articles of asso- 
ciation, and all the papers, with their duplicates, travelled 
by various means to London. 

Soon they were published, and everybody was reading 
them. But it was so near Christmas time that nothing 
could be done. Parliament adjourned over the holidays, 
and members, ministers, and officials rushed off to the 
country to enjoy the pleasures of the winter sports, house- 
parties, and family gatherings. 

The impression produced by the documents of the Con- 


gress was at first, Franklin said, rather favorable. By 
this he seems to have meant that the Whigs were pleased 
because the rebellion party were making a good fight and 
not yielding in their demands, and the Tory administration 
was rather staggered at the uncompromising nature of the 

Before the documents arrived some prominent English- 
men, seeing that a dangerous crisis was impending, entered 
into secret negotiations with Franklin to bring about a 
reconciliation. When the documents came the danger 
of a bad civil war was more evident than ever, and they 
increased their efforts. 

The persons chiefly concerned in this undertaking were 
David Barclay, a Quaker member of Parliament, Dr. 
Fothergill, the leading physician of London, who was also 
a Quaker, and Admiral Howe, a Whig, very favorably 
inclined towards the colonies on account of his deceased 
brother, and very ambitious to win the distinction of set- 
tling the great question. He hoped to be sent out to 
America at the head of a great peace commission which 
would settle all difficulties. 

The plan of these negotiations was, by means of pri- 
vate interviews with Franklin, to obtain from him the 
final terms on which the patriot colonists would compro- 
mise; and by acting as friendly messengers of these terms 
to the ministry the negotiators hoped to prevent a war of 
conquest. Secrecy was necessary, because ordinary Eng- 
lishmen might look upon such negotiations as somewhat 
treasonable, and the charge of treason was made when 
afterwards the negotiations were known.* Franklin was 
led into the plan by being asked to play chess, of which 
he was very fond, with Admiral Howe's sister, and his 

* Galloway, "A Letter from Cicero to Eight Hon. Lord Yiscount 
Howe, "London, 1781. 


description of her fascination and the gradual opening of 
the plan are written in his best vein.* 

The ultimate terms of these negotiations were worked 
down to as mild a basis as possible, and Franklin was 
willing to be much easier and more complying than were 
the colonists. He was willing, for example, to pay for the 
tea. But even when reduced to their mildest form one 
cannot read them without seeing that they would now be 
regarded as most extraordinary terms for colonies to be 
suggesting. They show in what a weak grasp England 
had held her colonies. They are absolutely incompatible 
with any modern idea of the colonial relation. It would 
be utterly impossible for any British colony of our time 
to get itself, for the fraction of a moment, into a position 
where it could think of suggesting such terms; for the 
military and naval power of England over her colonies is 
overwhelming and complete. 

Most of the terms were, of course, concerned with the 
repeal of laws which the colonists disliked, and certainly 
the amount of repealing demanded seemed very large to 
Englishmen. But some of the other terms may be men- 
tioned as showing the situation. England was not to keep 
troops in any colony in time of peace or to build a fortifi- 
cation in any colony, except by that colony's consent. 
England was to withdraw all right to regulate colonial 
internal affairs by act of Parliament. The colonies must 
continue to control the salaries of governors. The first 
two regulations would alone have destroyed the colo- 
nial relation, and the American communities would have 
ceased to be colonies. But Franklin knew he could 
not yield on these points, and he even suggested to Lord 
Chatham that the Congress be recognized as a permanent 

* Works, Bigelow edition, vol. v. p. 440. 


The friendly negotiators could only politely withdraw 
and say that they were very sorry; and the delightful 
games of chess came to an end. The ministry were 
amused, and saw the situation more clearly than ever. 
Admiral Howe was deeply disappointed. He had ex- 
pected to take Franklin out with him as one of the mem- 
bers of his great peace commission ; and, to make the terms 
easier and everything smooth, Franklin was offered any 
important reward he chose to name. As a beginning, he 
was to be paid the arrears of his salary which the colonies, 
whose agent he was, had for some years neglected to send 
to him. But he was, of course, far too shrewd to yield to 
any of these temptations. 

During the Christmas holidays, every one in town and 
country discussed the American documents. Dr. Johnson 
began his vigorous refutation of them for his pamphlet, 
" Taxation no Tyranny." Lord Chatham read them with 
delight and admiration. They gave him a strong interest 
and roused the mighty energies of the mind that had saved 
the colonies from France and won a whole empire for 
England. Burke and Fox admired them, and so also did 
all the Whigs, as a matter of course. 

But that was not enough, because the Whigs were 
already on the side of the colonies. The object of the 
documents, if they were to accomplish anything at all, 
was to win over the doubting Tories in such numbers 
that they would turn the Whig minority into a majority, 
which would compromise with the colonies. In that they 
utterly failed, exactly as the loyalists prophesied, and 
as such men as Samuel Adams hoped and prayed they 

In fact, these documents, instead of accomplishing recon- 
ciliation, made reconciliation impossible. If the members 
of the Congress could have passed December in Tory house- 


holds, they would not have eaten their Christmas dinners 
with much complacency. Their statements of American 
rights, which are still so much admired by us and 
which were admired by Lord Chatham and the Whigs, 
were exasperating to the Tories. The documents were 
admirable only to those who already believed their senti- 
ments, and they were exasperating and hateful to others 
in exact proportion as they were admirable to us. They 
aroused among the Tories outbursts of indignation and 

The Tories saw independence in every line. Why, they 
would say, their very first resolution says that they have 
never ceded to any power the disposal of their life, liberty, 
and property. They assume, in other words, that they 
have a right to cede it if they wish. They believe that 
they are already independent of us. They deny that they 
are British subjects. They deny that they are subject to 
the British constitution, by which alone the life, liberty, 
and property of every Englishman is held. 

The inconsistency of asking in one document for a re- 
peal of the Quebec Act, because it established in Canada 
the bigotry and ignorance of the Roman Catholic religion, 
mingled with the absurd customs of Paris, and in another 
document appealing to these same French Roman Catho- 
lics, in flattering phrases, to join the Congress at Philadel- 
phia, was quickly seen, and formed one of the stock jokes 
at every Tory gathering. 

" They complain of transubstantiation in Canada/* said 
Dean Tucker, " but they have no objection to their own 
kind of transubstantiation, by which they turn bits of 
paper, worth nothing at all, into legal tender for the pay- 
ment of debts to British merchants." 

Dr. Johnson's " Taxation no Tyranny," with its whole- 
souled Toryism, is capital reading. No doubt he and 


many another Tory were expressing the same sentiments 
in conversation. At his Friday evening club, surrounded 
by Sir Joshua Reynolds, the ever-faithful Boswell, Charles 
Fox, Gibbon, Burke, and others, we can almost even now 
hear the doctor pant and roar against the Americans like 
an infuriated old lion. 

" Sir, do they suppose that when this nation sent out a 
colony it established an independent power ? They went 
out into those wildernesses because we protected them, and 
they would not otherwise have ventured there. They 
have been incorporated by English charters ; they have 
been governed by English laws, regulated by English 
counsels, protected by English arms, and it seems to follow, 
by a consequence not easily avoided, that they are sub- 
ject to English government and chargeable by English 

And if Samuel Adams had been there, he might have 
said, " You are entirely right, and that is the reason I was 
so anxious to have the tea destroyed." But he was not 
there, and so the doctor roared on, while his listeners cau- 
tiously smoked their long pipes. 

" When by our indulgence and favor the colonists have 
become rich, shall they not contribute to their own de- 
fence? If they accept protection, do they not stipulate obe- 
dience ? Parliament may enact a law for capital punish- 
ment in America, and may it not enact a law for taxation ? 
If it can take away a colonist's life by law, can it not take 
away his property by law ?" 

And again Samuel Adams would have said, "Why, 
yes, certainly ; that is the cause of the whole trouble." 

" Sir, your people are a race of convicts," the doctor 
would have replied ; " a race of cowardly convicts. Has 
not America always been our penal colony ? Are they not 
smugglers ? I am willing to love all mankind except an 


American. How is it, sir, that we hear the loudest yelps 
for liberty from these people, who are themselves the 
drivers of negroes ?" 

We can easily imagine what a telling hit this must have 
been among the Tories, for most of the members of the 
Continental Congress owned slaves, and all of them 
could have owned them. Lord Mansfield had recently 
decided that a slave who set foot on the soil of England 
was by that act set free while he remained in England. 
For Americans or colonials to talk about liberty, and 
drive their slaves like cattle, seemed very ridiculous and 

The doctor made many telling hits, and it would be 
easy to go on summarizing or paraphrasing them. 

" One minute," he would say, " the Whigs are telling 
us, ' Oh, the poor Americans ! have you not oppressed 
them enough already ? You have forbidden them to manu- 
facture their own goods, or to carry their raw materials to 
any but English ports/ The next minute they tell us you 
can never conquer them ; they are too powerful. * Think 
of their fertile land, their splendid towns, their wonderful 
prosperity, which enables their population to double itself 
every twenty years/ But I say, if the rascals are so pros- 
perous, oppression has agreed with them, or else there has 
been no oppression. You cannot escape one or the other 
of those dilemmas." 

An English pamphlet called "Considerations on the 
American War," f published during this period, is interest- 
ing for its prophecies. It describes America's unbounded 

*See, also, " Americans against Liberty," p. 23, London, 1776. 
The Boston Gazette of July 22, 1776, contained the Declaration of 
Independence in full and also an advertisement of a slave for sale. 

f lt Considerations on the American "War addressed to the People 
of England, ' 7 London. See, also, { l The Honor of Parliament and the 
Justice of the Nation vindicated," London, 1776. 



extent of lands, such vast length of coast, such harbors, 
such fertility, such prospect of provisions for ages to 
come, such certainty of vast increase of population, that 
unless subdued and controlled she would before long 
overwhelm the mother-country with her riches and power. 
As America rises in independence England will as gradu- 
ally decay, and therefore the lawless colonists in America 
should be subdued. No minister of discernment and 
honesty, it was said, could see the increasing power and 
opulence of the colonies without marking them with a 
jealous eye. 

Fears were expressed that the rebel colonists, having 
the whole big continent to hide in, might get off into 
the "Western woods and live there as free as they pleased. 
Doctor Johnson ridiculed this idea most savagely. If the 
Americans were such fools as that, they would be leaving 
good houses to be enjoyed by wiser men. Others cited 
Ireland to show how easily the Americans could be con- 
quered. When the great rebellion, it was said, began in 
Ireland there were nearly as many inhabitants there as 
there are in America, yet in nine years five hundred thou- 
sand Irish were destroyed by the sword and by famine, 
and Cromwell, with but a small body of troops, could 
easily have made a desert of the whole island.* That 
was many years ago, when England's power was weak. 
England had only recently hunted the French out of 
North America and conquered the Indians. How could 
the colonists escape? 

The Tory pamphleteers complained bitterly of the Whigs, 
who by their sympathy and talk about freedom encour- 
aged the riot and rebellion of the Americans. If that 
faction in England would cease to support the disorderly 

* " The Eight of the British Legislature to tax the American Col- 
onies," p. 44, London, 1774. 


colonists, they would soon quiet down. It was afterwards 
charged that the rebel party in the colonies took their tone 
and framed their war measures from information sent out 
from England by the Whigs,* 

The author of a pamphlet already cited f uses Ireland 
as an instance and a warning for the Americans. The 
sole cause of Ireland's long years of disaster, devastation, 
and failure, he says, has been because she would never give 
up her love of independence. If she would only just give 
up that one " teasing thought," how happy and prosperous 
she might be. What long terrors and misery the Ameri- 
cans were preparing for themselves. 

As England had then been six hundred years in crush- 
ing the independent spirit of Ireland, and is still engaged 
in that noble occupation, this Englishman's argument is a 
strange piece of pathetic British intelligence. 

Dean Tucker was the most interesting and remarkable 
of all the political writers. He was a Tory, and yet took 
the ground that the colonies should be given complete 
independence. His reasons for this were that to conquer 
them would be very expensive, and that as independent 
communities, supposing they remained independent, they 
would trade with Great Britain more than they had traded 
as colonies. But they would not remain independent, he 
said. They would either lapse into a frightful state of 
sectional wars and confusion, or they would petition for a 
reunion with England. In short, independence would be 
a cheap and excellent punishment for them. 

* "A Yiew of the Evidence Relative to the Conduct of the Ameri- 
can "War under Sir "William Howe, with Fugitive Pieces, 7 ' etc., p. 97. 
See, also, Galloway, "A Letter from Cicero to Eight Hon. Lord Vis- 
count Howe," p. 33, London, 1781; Lecky, "England in the Eigh- 
teenth Century," edition of 1882, vol. iii. p. 545; Galloway, "Reply 
to the Observations of Lieutenant-General Sir W. Howe. ' ' 

f " The Right of the British Legislature to tax, " etc., p. 23. 


The Tories who were so indignant at the suggestion of 
allowing America independence could quote the French 
philosopher RaynaL He had written in favor of the 
colonists, encouraged them in rebellion, warned them not 
to allow themselves to be represented in Parliament, or 
their chains and fetters would be worse; but he had 
said that it would be absurd to give them independence. 
They could not govern themselves. It would burst the 
bonds of religion, of oaths, of laws. They would become a 
dangerous, tumultuous military power ; they would menace 
the peace of Europe. They would try to seize the French 
and Spanish possessions in the West Indies. The moment 
the laws of Britain were withdrawn both continents of 
America would tremble under such unscrupulous tyrants.* 

* " The Sentiments of a Foreigner on the Disputes of Great Britain 
with America/* p. 24, Philadelphia, 1776; translated from his 
"Philosophical and Political History of the European Settlements in 
America. " 




THE Christmas house-parties soon broke up and Parlia- 
ment resumed its sessions. January and February dragged 
along and March came while the mighty assembly of the 
Anglo-Saxon race tossed and struggled with the great 
question, whether universal liberty was consistent with the 
universal empire. 

The Tory majority was overwhelming, and everything 
that occurred, all the information that arrived, even the 
arguments of the Whigs, convinced that majority more and 
more that they were in the right. Letter after letter was 
read from General Gage and from the provincial governors 
describing the situation in the colonies. Civil government 
in Massachusetts had ceased ; the courts of justice in every 
county were expiring. British officials were driven out of 
the country by terrorism and mob violence ; and the rebels 
had organized a government of their own independent of 
General Gage and the charter. They were drilling a 
militia of their own, seizing arms, ammunition, and artillery, 
casting cannon-balls, and looking for blacksmiths who 
could forge musket-barrels. They upset the carts that 
hauled firewood for the British army and sank the vessels 
that brought provisions. In New Hampshire they seized 
the fort at Portsmouth and carried away the powder, 
cannon, and muskets; and in Rhode Island they com- 
mitted similar outrages. 

They proposed getting all the women and children out 
of Boston and then burning it to ashes over the heads of 
Gage and his soldiers. They were ready to attack him ; 


and on a false rumor that his ships were about to fire on 
Boston the whole rebel party in New England were in 
arms, and the rebels in Connecticut made a two days' 
inarch to give their assistance to Massachusetts* 

As the Whigs admitted that Massachusetts was in 
rebellion, the Tories said that the rebellion must be put 
down. How can we endure such insubordination unless 
we are willing to give them independence outright. If 
we are to have colonies at all they must be subordinate 
in some slight degree. 

"You have raised the rebellion yourselves," said the 
Whigs, " by your excessive severity and intermeddling." 

" No," said the Tories, " not at all ; we raised it eight 
years ago by repealing the Stamp Act ; by yielding for a 
time to whiggery and weakness. We taught the colonists 
to think that they could get anything they wanted if they 
threatened us." 

Then Burke would break forth in impassioned eloquence. 
England could not conquer the Americans without ruin- 
ing herself. Remember the archer, he said, who was 
drawing his bow to send an arrow to his enemy's heart, 
when he saw his own child folded in the enemy's arms. 
America holds in her arms our commerce, our trade, 
our most valuable child. Even now the tradesmen and 
merchants of the whole kingdom are thronging to the 
doors of this house and calling on you to stay your cruel 

During these debates General Howe rose to be recog- 
nized by the chair. His constituents at Nottingham, he 
said, had asked him to present a petition, and it was handed 
to the clerk, who read it. Nottingham would be ruined, 
the petitioners said, unless Parliament found some honor- 
able means of conciliating the Americans. Already the 
trade of the town was ceasing, useless goods were piling up 


IB the warehouses ; laboring men would soon be out of 

Petitions from London, Bristol, and other towns told 
the same story, and Howe must have been amused in 
watching the effect of them. The effect was the reverse of 
what the petitioners intended ; for, said the Tories, can it 
be endured that those colonists shall have this handle over 
us ? Shall they be able, every time they are dissatisfied, to 
raise a rebellion among the commercial classes here in 
England, and flood our tables with petitions, and fill our 
lobbies with stamping, impatient traders ? 

So they investigated, to see if it were really true that 
the Americans were starving England into obedience, and 
making her the dependency and America the ruler ; and 
they aroused an army of counter-petitioners, who swarmed 
to Parliament, declaring that British trade could not 
be injured by anything America could do. Thus the 
appeal to the commercial classes in England, which had 
been so successful in bringing about the repeal of the 
Stamp Act, utterly failed in this second attempt. The 
trick could not be repeated, for the Tories were prepared 
for it* 

There was a speech delivered at this time in Parliament 
by General Grant, which would be extremely interesting if 
it had been preserved in full. Bat the debates merely give 
a brief summary of it. He ridiculed the Americans and 
their cant enthusiasm in religion, mimicking their vulgar 
expressions and drawl, and describing their disgusting ways 
of living. Grant had served in America and professed to 
know the country. The colonists would never fight. 

* The merchants were said to have sent their petitions to Parliament 
merely for the purpose of keeping on good terms with the rebel colo- 
nists, who owed them money. "Letters of James Murray, Loyalist, 1 ' 
p. 172. 


They had none of the qualifications of soldiers ; a slight 
force would completely subdue them. 

Burgoyne, too ; made his little speech. He was a Tory, 
and there was, therefore, no inconsistency in his announcing 
that he was one of those selected for service in America to 
carry out the decrees of Parliament. He was ready, he 
said, to fight for the supremacy of Parliament ; and there 
could be no better cause for which to bleed and die. 

The Tory position that America was attacking the 
supremacy of Parliament, the sovereignty of the empire, 
was a strong appeal to most Englishmen, and could not be 
successfully answered, when letters and documents showed 
that the rebellion was spreading from New England to all 
of the colonies. When Wilkes tried to prove at great 
length that the rebellion might become successful, he merely 
increased the determination of the Englishmen to put it 
down at all hazards. When Burke, in a torrent of elo- 
quence, declared that it was not Boston alone, but all 
America, with which England must now deal, the Tories 
thanked him for having made their duty clearer. 

Could they allow such a rebellion to go unpunished? 
They would lose all their other possessions. Canada, 
Jamaica, Barbadoes, India, even Ireland, must be allowed 
to do as they please, rebel whenever they were dissatisfied, 
and get what they wanted by blustering and threatening to 

Our school-boys still recite extracts from the speeches 
of Burke and Barr. We shall always admire them. 
They will always seem to us incomparably and immortally 
eloquent for the beautiful and romantic aptness of language 
in which they expressed for us our rebellious thoughts and 
aspirations. But they never had the slightest chance of 
accomplishing the smallest result in England. They were 
mere useless protests. Burke, BarrS, and their followers 


were not Englishmen. They were totally out of sympathy 
with the principles and tone of thought which had ruled 
England for centuries. 

Burke, you may say, was at this time an American, a 
man with American ideas accidentally living in England. 
He was, in fact, an Irishman. He had come to London, 
in 1750, as a penniless Irish adventurer, and risen to 
distinction by his talents and brilliant Irish mind. When 
he pleaded in Parliament for the utmost liberty to the 
Americans, was he not showing the Irish side and influence 
of his character, the Irishman's natural sympathy with 

He prophesied great things for us, and flattered us in 
the most glowing language. He described us as daring 
sailors following the whales among the " tumbling moun- 
tains" of Arctic ice, or crossing the equator and the tropics 
to "pursue the same dangerous game in the Antarctic 
Circle, under the frozen serpent of the South. No sea 
was unvexed by the American fisheries ; no climate that 
was not a witness to their toils. Neither the perseverance 
of Holland, nor the activity of France, nor the dexterous 
and firm sagacity of the English was equal to the enter- 
prise of this recent people still in the gristle and not 
hardened into the bone of manhood." 

In glowing terms this Irish-Englishman went on to 
describe the rapid growth of our population. It was 
impossible to exaggerate it, he said, for while you were 
discussing whether they were two million, they had grown 
to three. Their trade with England was prodigious, and 
was now by itself equal to England's trade with the whole 
world in 1704. Should not people of such numbers, such 
energy, and such prosperity be handled cautiously and 
gently ? 

Conscious of the weakness of this argument, conscious of 


the absurdity of such an appeal to the typical Englishman, 
he went on to say that he knew that his descriptions of 
the greatness of America made her seem a more noble 
prize to the Tories, an object well worth the fighting for ; 
and to overcome this Tory feeling he went on arguing in a 
way that made it a great deal worse. He was obliged to 
say in effect that British valor was not equal to the con- 
quest of the Americans. Even if you should conquer 
them at first, can you go on conquering them, can you 
keep such a people subdued through the years and centuries 
that are to come? 

Having enlarged on this point until he had drawn 
against himself the whole national pride of England, and 
lost every vote that might be wavering, he went on to ask 
eloquently, beautifully, but ineffectually, how are you to 
subdue this stubborn spirit of your colonies? You cannot 
stop the rapid increase of their population ; you would not 
wish to cut off their commerce, for that would be to 
impoverish yourselves ; you could not stop their internal 
prosperity which is spreading over the continent. And 
here again his fervid imagination pictured a wonderful 
scene of the colonists driven by British conquest from 
the seaboard to dwell in the vaster and more fertile 
interior plains of boundless America; how they would 
become myriads of English Tartars, and pour down a fierce 
and irresistible cavalry upon the narrow strip of sea^coast, 
sweeping before them " your governors, your counsellors, 
your collectors and comptrollers, and all the slaves that 
adhere to them." * 

His argument was a good one for independence, and 

* This retreat into the interior beyond the Alleghany Mountains was 
the plan which Washington and the other patriot leaders intended to 
adopt if hard pressed, and the Congress also announced it in 1775, 
in their Declaration of the Causes for taking up Arms. 


possibly in his heart he was in favor of independence ; but 
he would not admit it. He clung to the impossible dream 
that the colonies could be retained as colonies without 
coercion and conquest. His remedy was to give the colo- 
nists what they asked, to comply with the American spirit ; 
u or, if you please/' he said, " submit to it as a necessary 

A very simple and easy method, laughed the Tories. It 
would certainly dispose of the question completely. 

BarrS, our other great friend in Parliament, who was 
more dreaded than any other orator of the opposition, was 
descended from a French Protestant family of Bochelle 
and had been born and educated in Ireland. He had 
served with Wolfe in the French and Indian War, was a 
favorite of that officer, and shared his liberal opinions. 
With his Irish education, his French blood, and the bias 
towards liberty of his Huguenot religion, he was not an 
Englishman at all. He was an American in all but 
migration, and we accordingly read his eloquence with 
great delight. 

As for the rank and file of that hopeless minority called 
the Whig party, they were largely made up of those people 
who, for centuries, had been maintaining doctrines of liberty 
not accepted by the mass of Englishmen. In the previous 
century the majority had persecuted them so terribly that 
they had fled to America by thousands as Quakers and 

At intervals this minority has achieved success and made 
great and permanent changes in the English Constitution. 
They had a day and an innings in Cromwell's time; a 
long day in Gladstone's time, accomplishing wonderful 
changes and reforms in England; but perhaps their 
greatest triumph was in the revolution of 1688, when they 
dethroned the Stuart line, established religious liberty, de- 


stroyed the power of the crown to set aside acts of Parlia- 
ment, and created representative government in England. 
For the most of their existence; however ; they would have 
been able to live in America more consistently with their 
professed principles than in England. 

On the present occasion, in the year 1775, after they 
had expended all of their eloquence and stated all of their 
ideas, and shown themselves in the eyes of the majority 
of Englishmen absolutely incompetent to settle the Ameri- 
can question, except by giving the colonies independence, 
the Tory majority proceeded to its duty of preserving the 
integrity of the empire in the only way it could be pre- 

They introduced five measures, well-matured, statesman- 
like propositions, which would be unpleasant for our people, 
but proper enough if we once admit that it is a good thing 
to preserve and enlarge the British empire. They declared 
Massachusetts in a state of rebellion, and promised to give 
the ministry every assistance in subduing her. They voted 
six thousand additional men to the land and naval forces. 
They passed an act, usually known as the Fisheries Bill, 
by which all the trade of the New England colonies was to 
be confined by force to Great Britain and the British West 
Indies. This cutting off of the New England colonies 
from the outside world was a serious matter, but it was not 
the most important part of the act. The important part 
was that it prohibited the New England colonies from 
trading with one another. They must be cut off from 
every source of supply except the mother-country ; and if 
this could be enforced they would be starved into sub- 
mission and dependence, their self-reliance broken, and 
their budding unity and nationality destroyed. 

The surest way to break up a rebellion is to prevent the 
rebels from uniting, to cut off not only their outward 


supplies, but their internal self-reliance. Having to deal 
with colonists whom they knew were striking for inde- 
pendence, this act was a wise one for England. It is easy 
and cheap to criticise it now after its execution had been 
forcibly prevented by France, Spain, and Holland turning 
in to the assistance of the Americans. But at the time 
of its passage it was well calculated to achieve its purpose. 

The Whigs attacked it for its cruelty. Burke rose to 
such heights of eloquence and denunciation that he had to 
be called to order. They proposed an amendment to it 
which would allow the colonists to carry fuel and provi- 
sions from one colony to another, but it was voted down 
by the three to one majority. 

The last part of the act was still more severe. It pro- 
hibited the New England colonies from fishing on the 
Newfoundland banks, and allowed that privilege only to 
Canada and the middle and southern colonies. These pro- 
hibitions on fishing and trade were to last only until the 
rebellious colonies returned to their obedience. 

Up rose the Whig orators to protest in pathetic strains 
against such hardship. The New Englanders were de- 
pendent for their livelihood on the fishery of the banks. 
Witnesses were called to the bar to show that over six 
hundred vessels and over six thousand men were employed 
in that fishery, that it was the foundation of nearly all the 
other occupations in New England, and that its prohibi- 
tion would ruin or starve one-half the population. 

" We are glad to hear that," said the Tories, " for then 
they will return the sooner to obedience. They would 
have returned to their obedience long ago if they had not 
been encouraged in rebellion by Whig oratory and elo- 
quence in England." 

When information arrived that the rebellion was spread- 
ing, the Tory ministry introduced another bill extending 


the prohibitions of the Fisheries Act to all the colonies 
except loyal New York and North Carolina. They in- 
tended, they said, as far as possible to separate the inno- 
cent from the guilty. Only the guilty should be punished. 

We do not wish to oppress them, argued Lord North. 
As soon as they return to their duty, acknowledge our 
supreme authority, and obey the laws of the realm their 
real grievances shall be redressed. We must bring them 
to obedience or abandon them. There is no middle 

On the 20th of February Lord North presented the last 
measure of the ministry's policy, in a bill which provided 
that, if any colony would make such voluntary contribu- 
tion to the common defence of the empire, and establish 
such fixed provision for the support of its own civil gov- 
ernment and administration of justice as met the approval 
of Parliament, that colony should be exempted from all 
imperial taxation for the purpose of revenue. This measure 
was also intended to break up the union of the colonies. 

Lord North was a methodical and good man of business. 
His speeches as we read them to-day in the debates are full 
of dignity and force. It is a great mistake to suppose that 
he was not an able man, or to say that his failure to be 
sufficiently conciliatory lost the American colonies to Great 
Britain ; or that the king was to blame and North was 
merely the king's tool. Lack of conciliation was certainly 
not the trouble ; and the attempt to assign some one person 
as the cause of the Revolution is a cheap and easy method 
of writing history, but absolutely unwarranted by the facts. 
Neither the king nor Lord North's ministry were any 
more to blame for the loss of the colonies than were the 
majority of Englishmen in and out of Parliament. The 
policy of the ministry, whether right or wrong, was heartily 
supported by the majority of Englishmen and the majority 


of the intelligent classes, and their arguments can be read 
in the pamphlets and the debates. The king was guiding 
his policy by what he knew to be the overwhelming senti- 
ment of the nation, which had the same desire to maintain 
dominion over as many countries as possible that it has 

Eight or nine years before, in the Stamp Act times, 
mildness and a withdrawal of taxation and other parlia- 
mentary authority might possibly have kept the American 
communities nominally within the empire for another 
generation as semi-independent states. But if they were 
to be retained as colonies the only course that could have 
the least chance of success would be one of severity and 
relentless cruelty even to the point of extermination or 
banishment of the patriot party. 

* Lecky, "England in the Eighteenth Century, " edition of 1882, 
vol. iii. p. 528 ; Bancroft, "History of the United States, " edition of 
1886, vol. v. pp. 21, 53, 282; Stedman, "American War," vol. i. 
chap. xi. p. 258 London, 1789. 




THE Fisheries Act wrought a most profound change 
among the colonists. It proved that England would no 
longer yield. From that moment both patriot and loyalist 
were compelled fco look at the situation from a new point 
of view. No nation, not even Spain, they said, had ever 
passed such an act against colonies, an act which closed 
and blockaded all ports ; which was intended to kill all 
trade, and cut off the great supply of the fisheries. It 
was to be enforced, they heard, by sending out additional 
troops and new generals. And this was the result of the 
petitions and appeals of that congress of the colonies 
which, it was fondly supposed, would compel an amicable 

The Fisheries Bill had been introduced into Parliament 
early in 1775, and news of the debates on it and the 
evident probability of its passage reached the colonies 
within five or six weeks ; but the bill did not become a 
law until the last week in March, and before the news of 
this dread event could travel across the ocean, during the 
month of April another event happened which opened the 
eyes of every one, and gave them a year's political growth 
within a week. 

Evidence of treason and rebellion had been accumu- 
lating against the leaders in Massachusetts, and especially 
against Samuel Adams and John Hancock. An attempt 
had been made by General Gage to win over Adams. 
Colonel Fenton was sent to him with an intimation that it 
would be greatly to his profit and safety should he with- 


draw from the rebellion.* The exact nature of the reward 
he was to receive is not known ; but, no doubt, it was 
considerable, and most tactfully and delicately offered. 
Adams, however, was incorruptible and inflexible, and 
continued to be as busy as a bee with his plans for inde- 

Gage soon had instructions to seize both him and Han- 
cock at the first convenient opportunity and send them to 
England. But he also had instructions not to provoke the 
colonists, and to avoid a conflict as long as possible. The 
seizure of Adams, who managed so many of the details 
of the patriot movement in Massachusetts, would surely 
mean a conflict. 

Meantime, spring came, and just about the time the 
Fisheries Bill was passed, in the end of March, Samuel 
Adams became very busy with a meeting held out at Con- 
cord to send delegates to another Congress which was to 
assemble at Philadelphia in May. This meeting at Con- 
cord was a meeting of that provincial congress which had 
been created by the Suffolk resolutions, and now professed 
to govern Massachusetts in opposition to the old govern- 
ment, under the altered charter, with Gage at its head. 
Gage also learned that powder and all sorts of military 
stores were being quietly hauled over the roads to that 
same village of Concord. 

The meeting at Concord lasted from March 22 to April 
15, and, just before it adjourned, Gage seems to have 
thought that the time for prompt action had come. He 
could now seize the military stores at Concord, and at the 
same time capture Adams and also John Hancock, who 
had made a large fortune out of smuggling, and was will- 
ing to risk it and his neck by joining the rebels. The 
government was about to secure the passage of the Fish- 

* Hosmer, "Life of Samuel Adams," p. 302. 


eries Bill, reinforcements were about to start for America, 
and there must be no more laxity or delay in subduing the 

The rebel meeting at Concord had adjourned. But 
Adams and Hancock had not returned to Boston, and 
were staying at the house of the Eev. Jonas Clark at 
Lexington. This was exactly what Gage wanted. The 
seizure could be made much more quietly at Clark's house 
than in Boston. So, on the evening of the 18th of April 
he sent eight hundred troops to Lexington to take both 
Adams and Hancock, and at the same time capture the 
military stores at Concord. 

Thus it came to pass that Samuel Adams, who had pur- 
posely widened the breach between the colonies and the 
mother-country, now made that breach absolutely irrepara- 
ble by unwittingly bringing on the Battle of Lexington. 
The deepest wish of the old man's heart was gratified 
that day. The devoted labors of long years culminated. 
Blood was spilt at last; and now there could be no turning 

We all know the story, how Gage's troops left Boston, 
as they supposed very secretly, in the darkness. But 
their movements were watched, and Paul Revere, the sil- 
versmith, who had not hoped for any more good riding till 
Congress should meet in May, had a grand ride that night. 
He stirred Adams and Hancock out of their beds, and 
then sped on through the exhilarating air to warn the 
minute men. 

The next morning Gage's troops found that their birds 
had flown from Lexington, and that the military stores 
had been largely removed from Concord. They were soon 
exchanging shots with the fanners aud minute men, and 
then were in full retreat, with the farmers peppering them 
from behind the stone walls. 


Meantime, Adams and Hancock were making their way 
across the fields. As the reports of the muskets reached 
their ears, Adams knew that the crowning day of his life 
had come ; and he is said to have exclaimed, " What a 
glorious morning is this P 

But to many thousands in the colonies ; and perhaps to 
nearly one-half of the people, that morning of April 19 
at Lexington did not seem glorious at all. It was a seri- 
ous business, these farmers, these boors, these colonial 
peasants, hastily summoned, and killing two hundred and 
seventy-three British regulars ; a detestable, horrible affair, 
with consequences leading no man knew whither. 

One of the first consequences was that the minute men 
all through New England were summoned, and were soon 
streaming along the roads that led to Boston. Hough, 
ungainly, unassorted men, round-shouldered and stiff from 
labor } some of them, perhaps, in the old, ill-fitting militia 
uniform of blue turned back with red, but most of them 
in smock-frocks, as they had worked in the fields, or with 
faded red or green coats, old yellow embroidered waist- 
coats, greasy and dirty ; some with great wigs that had 
once been white, some in their own hair, with every imagi- 
nable kind of hat or fur cap, trailing every variety of old 
musket and shotgun \ without order or discipline, joking 
with their leaders, talking, excited, welcoming to their 
ranks students from New Haven and clerks from country 
stores, they hurried from the bleak hills of New Hamp- 
shire and the sunny valleys of Connecticut, until within 
four or five days they had collected sixteen thousand strong 
at the little village of Cambridge, where they remained, 
half starved, shivering in the cold nights without blankets. 

Their leaders distributed these starving, shivering, 
motley patriots, about a thousand to the mile, in a large 
half-circle on the west side of Boston, from the Mystic 


River on the north, through Cambridge, and round to 
Roxbury and Dorchester on the south, shutting in Gage 
and his handful of four or five thousand men, who, the 
patriots said, must now take ship and leave Boston free. 

A rebellion always seems ridiculous, impossible, and 
mistaken, except to those that have drunk its inspiration. 
Horrible stories were circulated about the atrocities com- 
mitted by the farmers on the dead and wounded regulars 
at Lexington. They had not forgotten, it was said, their 
habits in the French and Indian War. They scalped 
some of the wounded British soldiers, leaving them to drag 
themselves about in torture with their bleeding, skinless 
skulls ; and they gouged out the eyes of others in true 
Virginian fashion.* Americans never believed these tales ; 
but they were circulated and believed in England. What 
sane man, English people argued, could approve of this 
rebellion against the great righteous British empire, that, 
having already conquered India and America, was proceed- 
ing to absorb half the earth and outnumbered the colonists 
four to one ? 

Such was the opinion of nearly a million of our people 
at that time. Certainly more than a third, and some have 
said more than half, of our white population believed that 
the rabble of farmers surrounding the handful of self- 
restrained and handsome troops in Boston was not merely 
a rabble of the misguided, but a rabble of criminals, who 
were bringing destruction on the innocent along with 

How shall I describe the people who held this opinion ? 
Some of them were living within sight of the rebel farmers 
and looking at them from their windows, and the rest 

* " The Eights of Great Britain asserted," p. 57, London, 1776 j 
" View of the Evidence Relative to the Conduct of the "War under 
Sir William Howe, with Fugitive Pieces," etc., p. 72, London, 1779. 



were scattered through the colonies to the swamps and 
pines of Georgia, 

No census was taken, and there is no collection of statis- 
tics by which we can learn the relative numbers of loyalists 
and patriots. It is all estimating and guessing; and in 
this respect the men who took part in the Revolution were 
not much better off than we are. 

The loyalists themselves always believed that they were 
a majority. Their upholders have supported this assertion 
by showing that over twenty-five thousand of them en- 
listed in the British army, and that, without counting those 
in the privateers and navy, there were in 1779 and at 
several other times more of them in the British army than 
there were soldiers in the rebel armies of the Congress.* 
"Washington never had twenty-five thousand men under 
his command, and sometimes only four thousand. If the 
British generals, the loyalists said, had given suitable 
encouragement, there would have been still larger loyalist 

When we examine -the estimates which were made of 
their numbers by their contemporaries, we find the most 
extraordinary disagreement. John Adams, writing in 
1780, estimated them at not more than a twentieth part 
of the whole population. In 1815 he estimated them at 
a little more than a third. Galloway, in his examination 
before Parliament, and in one of his pamphlets, estimated 
them at nine-tenths and at four-fifths. General Robertson, 
in his testimony before the committee on the conduct of 
the war, estimated them at two-thirds. He described the 

* "In nearly every loyalist's letter," says Sabine, "or paper which 
I have examined, and in which the subject is mentioned, it is either 
assumed or stated in terms that the loyalists were the majority. " 
"American Loyalists," edition of 1847, p. 65. See, also, Byerson, 
"Loyalists of America," vol. ii. pp. 57, 123, et seq. 


population as one-third for the Congress, one-third neutral, 
and one- third loyal, which he thought gave two-thirds 
which could be called loyal. 

I can suggest only one way of reconciling these state- 
ments, and that is by defining what is meant by the term 
loyalist. There were, in a general way, four classes of 
persons to whom the name could be applied. The first 
class was composed of people who were thoroughly Eng- 
lish, untouched by the American environment and aggres- 
siveness, and not only uninfluenced by the rights of man 
and Whig principles, but loathing and detesting anything 
of that kind. Most of these people finally left the country 
and went to live in England, Canada, or the West Indies. 
Governor Hutchinson, of Massachusetts, and that very 
muscular Christian, Eev. Dr. Boucher, of Maryland, were 
of this class; and perhaps Jonathan Sewall and Daniel 
Leonard might be included in it. 

The second class were somewhat more Americanized. 
They were anxious to remain ; but they wished the country 
to be ruled by England. They had no confidence in any 
other rule. They were willing to argue and struggle in a 
" legal and constitutional manner/' as they called it, for 
greater privileges, or for " redress of grievances ;" but if 
England decided against them that would end the matter. 
These were the people who were willing to accept British 
rule without " guarantees of liberty," having full confi- 
dence that in the long run that rule would be satisfactory, 
and that the " guarantees 3 ' which the patriots demanded 
were unnecessary. They were strong believers in the 
empire, and wished to live in colonies which were part of 
the empire. Curwen, of Massachusetts, and Van Schaack, 
of New York, who have left us such interesting memoirs, 
seem to have been of this class ; so also were some of the 
De Lancey family, of New York, and Joseph Galloway and 



the Allen family, of Pennsylvania. The great stumbling- 
block with them was the Declaration of Independence, 

In the early stages of the Eevolution they had acted for 
the most part with the patriots and prevented any distinct 
line of demarcation between the parties. But when the 
movement for independence showed itself strongly, as in 
the approval by the Congress of the Suffolk resolutions, 
they began to drop out of the patriot ranks ; and when it 
became evident that there was to be an open declaration 
of independence, they went out in greater numbers. They 
were often treated with contempt by British officers, and 
called " whitewashed rebels." The well-to-do among them, 
as Graydon tells us, were sometimes informed that by 
their former association with the rebels they bad forfeited 
their right to be treated as gentlemen* - A very large pro- 
portion of this second class left the country before the war 
was over and never returned, and, as they were out of 
sympathy with the American national spirit, their absence 
was an advantage to us. 

These two classes included all that could be strictly 
called loyalists. Bat the term was often applied to the 
neutrals and those who, for want of a better name, may be 
called the hesitating class. The neutrals would have noth- 
ing to do with the contest either one way or the other. 
Most of the Quakers of Pennsylvania, and many of the 
Pennsylvania Germans were neutrals. There were also 
individuals of all sorts of creeds scattered over the country, 
some of them persons of wealth and prominence, who held 
entirely aloof, and are properly described as neutral. 

The hesitating class have sometimes been described as 
the people who were wondering on which side their bread 
was buttered. Some of them would at times enlist for a 
few weeks with the patriots ; but a patriot disaster would 
scatter them ; and many of them deserted to the British or 


took the British oath of allegiance, which they frequently 
broke at the first opportunity. 

Most of them, however, never enlisted at all. They 
were more or less willing that the patriots should win ; but 
they were waiting for that event to happen. All through 
the Revolution we hear of the prominent ones among them, 
especially in New York, going over to the British side, 
having made up their minds that at last the current had 
set that way. In the dark days of 1780 a great many of 
them went over, and they were apparently quite numerous 
in the Southern colonies. 

When all these classes were counted together, there was 
a certain amount of plausibility in General Robertson's 
saying that the loyalists were two-thirds of the people ; and 
when Galloway says that they were four-fifths or nine- 
tenths he was evidently counting with considerable exag- 
geration all the people that could be in any way relied 
upon, positively or negatively, to assist the British cause. 

When Adams said that the loyalists were only one- 
twentieth of the people, he was interested in making their 
numbers seem as small as possible, and we may assume 
that he was speaking only of the extreme loyalists, possibly 
only of the class first mentioned. He was then in Amster- 
dam trying to persuade the Dutch to take the side of the 
American patriots with loans of money, if not by actual 
war. He was answering a request of the famous Dutch 
lawyer, Calkoen, who had asked him " to prove by striking 
facts that an implacable hatred of England reigns through- 
out America," and, " to show that this is general, that the 
Tories are in so small a number and of such little force 
that they are counted as nothing." 

Adams complied to the best of his ability, and did not 
think it necessary to count the neutrals and hesitating 
class, or to exaggerate at all the numbers of the extreme 


loyalists. Many years after the Revolution, in 1813, he 
said that the loyalists had been about a third, and he was 
then evidently counting the first and second classes. In 
1815 he said substantially the same, and gives an interest- 
ing estimate which is very like that of General Robertson.* 

"I should say that full one-third were averse to the Revolution. 
These, retaining that overweening fondness, in which they had been 
educated, for the English, could not cordially like the French ; indeed, 
they most heartily detested them. An opposite third conceived a 
hatred for the English, and gave themselves up to an enthusiastic 
gratitude to Prance. The middle third, composed principally of the 
yeomanry, the soundest part of the nation, and always averse to war, 
were rather lukewarm to both England and France ; and sometimes 
stragglers from them, and sometimes the whole body, united with the 
first or last third, according to circumstances." Adams, "Works, vol. 
x. p. 110. 

The violence with tar and feathers and the restricted 
freedom of speech must, as Sabine points out, have turned 
many patriots into loyalists. Many who sympathized with 
patriot principles wanted to check the patriot disorders 
and compel them to respect the rights of person and prop- 
erty. But failing in this, and being treated with suspi- 
cion, abuse, and contempt, they were forced in self-defence 
into the ranks of the loyalists. 

After hostilities began and the Revolution, was well 
under way, the loyalists were probably a majority in New 
York, in South Carolina, and in Georgia. In Pennsyl- 
vania, Maryland, and New Jersey they are supposed to 
have been more evenly balanced, each side claiming the 
majority. Even in New England and Virginia the loyal- 
ists were more numerous than is generally supposed. 

We may form a more distinct idea of their numbers 

* Adams, "Works, vol. vii. p. 270 ; vol. x. pp. 63, 110, 193 j American 
Historical Beview, vol. i. p. 27; "Yiew of the Evidence, etc., on 
Conduct of General Howe," pp. 46, 50. 


when we learn that all through the Revolution they were 
leaving the country by thousands, three thousand here, 
four thousand there, twelve thousand at another place, up 
even to one hundred thousand which are said to have left 
with Sir Guy Carleton when he evacuated New York.* 

In spite of all these migrations the patriots found it 
necessary, all through the Revolution, to banish, confiscate, 
lessen their numbers, and break their spirit in every possi- 
ble way. Some of the worst atrocities committed upon 
them happened after peace was declared, and this is said 
to have caused the great migration with Sir Guy Carleton. 
Many of them became convinced that there would be no 
use in trying to live in the country even in peaceful times. 
There was quite a strong opinion among the patriots that 
if the extreme loyalists remained they would form a dan- 
gerous political party which would check the growth of 
nationality and watch every opportunity to assist England 
to gain again some sort of suzerainty or control over 
America ; and there is no doubt that England had hopes 
of this for many years. 

The province of New Brunswick in Canada was settled 
by loyalists, and cut off from Nova Scotia for their satis- 
faction and accommodation. They became also the founders 
of upper Canada, Thousands of them returned to England. 
Other thousands, especially the neutrals and hesitating 
class, remained, and their descendants are with us to-day. 

While it is true that a large portion of the professional 
classes, clergy, lawyers, doctors, teachers, and graduates of 
Harvard College were represented among the loyalists, yet 
we must disabuse our minds of the fancy so many have that 
most of the loyalists were upper-class people. Three-fourths 
of them and more were of the lower and middle classes, as 

* De Lancey's note to Jones, "New York in the Revolution," vol. 
ii. p. 504 j Elizabeth Johnston, " Becollections of a Q-eorgia Loyalist" 


can readily be seen in the lists which were published in 
Philadelphia, Boston, and New York giving each one's 
occupation or rank. Candle-makers, carpenters, black- 
smiths, sailors, shop-keepers, clerks, tide-waiters, and yeo- 
men, as laboring men were then called, are profusely min- 
gled with merchants, physicians, lawyers, and gentlemen. 

The serious effect which the neutrals and hesitating class 
had in increasing the strength of the loyalists and in weak- 
ening the patriots is seen in the number of Washington's 
forces. The highest guess at the number of the patriot 
population puts them at two-thirds, or, say, 1,400,000 out 
of the 2,200,000 white population. But if there were 
really 1,400,000 enthusiastic patriots, they would surely 
have furnished more than the 10,000 men which Wash- 
ington usually had. He should have had at least 50,000 
out of a patriot population of 1,400 3 000; and, indeed, 
50,000 is the number which the Congress always expected, 
but never obtained. Even in their direst need and by the 
greatest urging and compulsion of all the patriot leaders, 
by offering bounties, gifts of land, and by drafting they 
could never get quite 25,000 all told.* 

During the winter of 1777-78 the patriots must have 

* In the Boer War in South Africa in the year 1900 the Boers of 
the Transvaal and Orange Free State did not number 300,000, and yet 
they put into the field an army of over 40,000. Their greater una- 
nimity is, of course, easily explained, "because they already had inde- 
pendence, which they were fighting to retain, while we were colonies 
rebelling to obtain independence. 

An error has crept into some standard books of statistics, to the 
effect that the number of patriot troops in the Revolution was 
231,959. These astonishing figures, so irreconcilable with Washing- 
ton's returns and the reports of battles, grew out of some incomplete 
and random statements of General Knox, not at all intended to pro- 
duce the inferences that were drawn from them. See Massachusetts 
Historical Society Proceedings, 2d series, vol. ii. p. 204, where Mr. 
Justin Winsor deals with the subject. 


been very few in number in Pennsylvania and New 
Jersey ; for during that winter "Washington's small force 
of less than nine thousand men almost starved to death 
at Valley Forge. They were surrounded in every direc- 
tion by a rich farming country. The British army of 
twenty thousand shut up in Philadelphia relied chiefly on 
ships which brought supplies up the river. But the far- 
mers of the surrounding country voluntarily brought and 
sold their supplies to the British in Philadelphia, leaving 
the patriot army to starve. The few provisions Washing- 
ton had were obtained by raiding these loyalist supply 
wagons on their way to Philadelphia and by sending far 
to the south in Virginia and the Carolinas.* 

If the patriots were as numerous and enthusiastic as some 
have supposed, the starving time at Valley Forge is inex- 
plicable. The usual difficulty of putting down a rebellion, 
or destroying independence, is that the native population 
support the patriots ; hence the concentration camps that 
have been used in modern times to prevent such assist- 
ance and to exert a moral pressure by imprisoning the 
patriot women and children, where they will be subjected 
to the diseases, demoralization, and misery of close quar- 
ters. This method had not been thought of at the time 
Howe was in Philadelphia, and he had not much need of 
it ; for Washington's force very nearly perished by simply 
leaving him to the mercy of his own people, f 

* Sargent, "Life of Andre"," p. 159; Galloway, ''Letter to Eight 
Honorable Lord Viscount Howe," p. 27, London, 1779; Cobbett, 
"Parliamentary History, J ' vol. xx. p. 346; Parliamentary Register, 
vol. xiii. p. 464. 

t Captain G-raydon, who was a patriot recruiting officer, tells us that 
enthusiasm for the patriot cause "was far from prevalent among the 
lower ranks of the people, at least in Pennsylvania." He relates also 
the long journey he made in Maryland, to gain only one recruit. 
Graydon, "Memoirs," edition of 1846, pp. 34, 37. 


The truth is that those who were really willing to risk 
themselves or their property in the cause of indepen- 
dence, and die in the last ditch, were comparatively few. 
There is every reason to suppose that they were less 
than a million. They were the heroic element, deeply 
inspired by the desire for a country of their own. Then 
there were those only a little inspired, who were willing 
that the heroes should perform the miracle of succeeding. 
But they could not see any advantage in risking their own 
necks, health, property, or comfort in the performance of 
something, which, after all, might be superhuman. They 
were waiting and watching. If the rebellion were crushed 
they would be sorry, but they would also be safe. 




Lexington fresh in everybody's mind, the second 
Continental Congress, which some had professed to think 
would never be necessary, assembled on May 10, in Phila- 
delphia. Many of the former members were present and 
a few new ones. 

In June, a new member appeared, a tall young man 
with a prominent chin, light-colored eyes, and red hair. 
He was not an orator or even a good speaker ; but in ordi- 
nary intercourse he could keep up an enthusiastic, hopeful 
conversation, full of varied information and point. This 
young Virginian, of good estate, half lawyer and half 
planter, had no respect for conservatism. He not only 
approved of the farmer army besieging Boston, but would 
overwhelm the whole of Europe with such things. People 
were soon hearing a great deal of this Thomas Jefferson, 
and some of them described him as "the most delight- 
ful destroyer of dust and cobwebs that they had ever 

Franklin had just returned from England, and had 
been immediately elected to the Congress. He had sailed 
almost on the day the Fisheries Bill had passed, not quite 
sure that he would not be seized before he could start, and 
locked up in the Tower. He had steadily declared his 
belief in the possibility of a compromise, and expected to 
go back to England in a few months charged with the 
mission of finally settling all difficulties. But when he 
reached Philadelphia and heard of Lexington, he quickly 


abandoned all talk of a peaceful settlement and took his 
place among the extreme patriots. 

Lexington, the unorganized army besieging Boston, the 
final passage of the Fisheries Bill, the savage, blunt re- 
fusal of all colonial suggestions of liberty, and fresh troops 
and armaments sailing for America were now the great 
and deplorable facts of the day. What was to be done ? 

Philadelphia and the Congress could no longer be gay 
and jovial. Dinner parties and entertainments were few. 
The Congress had no time for them, for they were at work 
from morning till far into the night. Those who engage 
in an open rebellion against Great Britain have no time 
to lose. Moreover, many of the people who, the year 
before, had entertained the members at their houses were 
no longer friendly to the Congress. 

John Adams was advocating most extreme measures in 
both public and private. He was proposing to recommend 
to each colony to seize all the crown officers and officials 
within its limits, and hold them as hostages for the safety 
of the people shut up with the British army in Boston. 
That done, the colonies were to be declared free and inde- 
pendent States, and then Great Britain could be informed 
that they would negotiate for a settlement of all difficulties 
on permanent principles. If she refused to negotiate, 
and insisted on war, she was to be informed that the 
colonies, now independent States, would seek for the alli- 
ance of France, Spain, or any European country that 
would assist them. And all this by those who had just 
declared that they had a horror of independence, and would 
not have it under any conditions. To cap the climax, 
the Congress was to adopt the unorganized farmers at 
Cambridge as its army, and appoint a general to command 

* Adams, Works, yol. ii. p. 407. 


Conservatives and loyalists shrank from such proceed- 
ings. They were horrified to hear that the Congress was 
proposing to ask assistance of France and Spain, old Eng- 
land's bitterest enemies. They were shocked when they 
heard that Arnold, who had set out from the patriot army 
at Cambridge, had, with the assistance of Ethan Allen, in 
Vermont, actually had the temerity to attack the two 
British forts on Lake Champlain, Ticonderoga and Crown 
Point, and had taken them on May 10, the very day the 
rebel Congress had assembled in Philadelphia. He sent 
the British flags he captured to the Congress, and they 
decorated the walls of Carpenters' Hall with them as tro- 
phies, to show how much they loved the " dear old mother." 

The doctrine, exclusively American in its origin, that 
rebels were merely men in arms fighting for an idea, 
mistaken or otherwise, who, when once subdued, were to 
be allowed to go their way like paroled prisoners of war, 
had not yet gained ground. Rebellion was at that time a 
more serious thing than it has since become under the 
American doctrine of the right of revolution. Most of 
the colonists could remember the slaughter and beheading 
inflicted in England on the rebels under the Pretender of 
1745. The frightful hanging, torturing, and transportation 
of men, women, and even children, for such rebellions as 
that of Monmouth, were by no means yet forgotten. There 
was not a colonist who had not heard descriptions of 
London after a rebellion, with the bloody arms and hind- 
quarters of rebels hung about like butchers' meat, the 
ghastly heads rotting and stinking for months on the 
poles at Temple Bar and on London Bridge, with the hair 
gradually falling off the grinning skulls, as the people 
passed them day by day. 

A printed statement of the punishment for treason, 
taken from the British statute, was handed about in the 


colonies, no doubt to the great terror of many, and to the 
enforcement of the belief that it would be well to let the 
great civilizer, Britain, continue to govern America. 

" That the offender be drawn to the gallows, and not he carried or 
walk ; that he he hanged hy the neck, and then cut down alive ; that 
his entrails he taken out and hurned while he is yet alive ; that his 
head he cut off ; that his body be divided into four parts ; that his 
head and quarters be at the king's disposal. J; 

The loyalists reminded the restless revolutionists that 
they were opposing a country which, by the testimony 
of all time, had always given more liberty to its people 
and more orderly good government than any other nation 
in the world. As against the present outrageous violators 
of personal rights, the loyalists pointed to the peaceful 
security of those rights in the colonies under British rule 
previous to the recent outbreak of conceited colonial self- 
confidence. They pointed to the peaceful security of all 
rights of personal liberty in England and wherever the 
sway of the British empire was undisturbed, that won- 
drous empire with its constitution, such a perfect balance 
between despotic power and popular licentiousness, that 
could protect the colonies forever by its military and naval 

"Government and good order are its strength; liberty, civil and 
religious, its glory. Everything that contributes to its reputation and 
happiness I love ; everything that tends to distress and disgrace it 
I abhor. """What think you of the Congress now?' 7 New Tork, 

One of the ablest of the loyalist writers, after describing 
what he considered the atrocious mob rule of the patriot 
colonists, condensed in a sentence the deepest feeling of 
the loyalist party, 

"All the hardships which you complain of, all the evils which you 
say you fear, from the weight of Parliamentary power, endured for a 



century, would not inj ure this province so much as this mode of con- 
duct (moh rule) continued for a twelve month." "The Congress 
canvassed," p. 23, New York, 1774. 

In another pamphlet we find a similar passage : 

C Be not deceived, my countrymen, order is in every respect more 
eligible than confusion. "Tis heaven's first law, 'tis the basis of lib- 
erty. Let us therefore restore order and good government among our- 
selves ; for until we do that it is impossible to be/res. " "Short Ad- 
vice to the Counties of New York," p. 15, New York, 1774. 

From the writings of other loyalists like Sewall and 
Leonard we can learn what an alarming appeal they made 
to those patriots who were timid and hesitating. The 
strength, they said, which Great Britain is able to exert is 
more than sufficient to crush you to atoms in spite of all 
your bragging and vaporing. You will encounter a vet- 
eran army and navy lately come from sweeping the seas 
in all quarters of the globe. Your revenue, by your own 
calculation, will be only 75,000 a year against a nation 
which in the last war spent 17,000,000 a year. Your 
towns are all on deep water and exposed to Britain's fleet. 
The greater part of your plantations and farms can be 
reached by the small boats of men-of-war ; you will be ex- 
posed to calamities from which even demons turn their 
eyes. One summer will suffice to ruin you. 

Many of the colonists who had inclined to the patriot 
side were driven from it by the impossibility, as it seemed 
to them, of the colonies uniting in one government. The 
disintegrating forces of sectionalism would bring anarchy 
and confusion. Writers like Sewall made a strong appeal 
on this point. No radically distinct states, they said, have 
ever been successfully united in one government. You 
cannot keep eleven clocks all striking at the same time. 
History is full of such failures, and you, like the others, 
will become the prey of military despotism, and soon be 


parcelled out, Poland-like, between France and Spain. 
Even if you escape this fate, your so-called independence 
will be a curse, because personal liberty, the security for 
life and property which Britain alone can protect, will 
be extinct among you. Even now you tar and feather, tor- 
ture, and ruin those among you who are guilty of no other 
crime than upholding by argument the government under 
which y<5u have lived and flourished for nearly two hun- 
dred years. 

We can now easily answer these arguments by merely 
stating the events that have since happened ; but it was by 
no means easy to answer them when those events had not 
happened, when nobody really knew whether they would, 
and when there was very strong probability that they 
would not, happen. 

That we should, at what was rapidly becoming our last 
moment, obtain the assistance of France, not to mention the 
assistance of Spain, and, later, of Holland, and that France, 
after helping us, would allow us to remain independent, 
was a statement which, in the year 1775, was by no means 
clear to every one. The loyalists were disgusted with the 
thought of even asking France for assistance. They had 
fought the French in Canada; they had an hereditary hatred 
of France as the ancient and perpetual enemy of the Eng- 
lish race. That she might possibly assist us for the pur- 
pose of weakening England they were willing to believe ; 
but even this was uncertain, because French finances were 
generally thought to be in such a deplorable state as to 
prohibit her from another war with England, and she 
would not want to encourage rebellion, because she had 
colonies of her own in the West Indies. But supposing 
her reckless enough to enter upon such a war, and that 
she should succeed in doing what she had failed to do a 
few years before, namely, drive Great Britain from the 


American continent, was it believable that after that she 
would voluntarily let us go free? Such a supposition was 
contrary to history, contrary to human nature, and con- 
trary to all that was known of the French monarchy. 

Even men like John Adams, who eagerly sought the 
assistance of France, believed to the last that she intended 
to enslave us. A political party grew up, especially in 
New England, inspired by this belief. Adams quarrelled 
with Franklin because he thought him blind to this dan- 
ger ; and at the close of the Bevolution, when the treaty 
of peace with Great Britain was being negotiated, some 
American public men were seriously alarmed and lost faith 
in Franklin as a negotiator, because they still felt sure of 
the evil intentions of France. 

In 1782, when the Bevolution was to all intents fin- 
ished, both Curwen and Van Schaack expressed what was 
the general opinion among loyalists and many others, that 
America was completely in the grip of France, and would 
remain so. Curwen expected to see " French dominion 
and wooden shoes" remain forever in what had once been 
free British colonies.* 

That France gave up all claim of suzerainty over us was 
part of our good fortune. But that such ideal conduct on 
the side of human liberty should really take place, and have 
to be credited to a French monarch, whose people were 
ground down under such a weight of despotism that they 
soon burst forth like a volcano, in what we call the French 
Bevolution, was more than many of the educated, well- 
informed men of the year 1775 felt justified in believing. 

Spain, it was said, would certainly not assist us, for it 

would be an encouragement for all her South American 

colonies to break away from her. It was more likely that 

she and France would help to subdue us and demand part 

* Tan Schaack, 272 ; Curwen, 339, 344, 


of our territory as a reward. Many loyalists believed that, 
even with the assistance of France and Spain, we could not 
win our independence.* 

The recent struggles of small states in Europe to secure* 
their independence were not encouraging. Sweden had 
been very unfortunate, and the liberties of the free towns 
of Germany had been curtailed. "Within the last two or 
three years Austria, Eussia, and Prussia had joined forces 
in conquering and making the first division of Poland's 
territory. In fact, this first attempt on Poland had been 
so successful that many expected soon to see a division of 
Switzerland and of the United Provinces. 

The Corsicans had won a temporary independence by the 
heroism and intelligence of their leader, General Paoli, who 
was popular in America, where a famous inn on the western 
road from Philadelphia was named after him. But in 
1769 France completely crushed Corsican independence. 

" Behold your fate when you appeal to France/' said the 
loyalists. "Do you suppose that the power which de- 
stroyed the independence of Corsica will give you inde- 

In fact, at this period the aggressions of the great 
nations over the small had very much increased. The day 
for small nationalities seemed to be passing ; and in Eng- 
land Toryism was becoming more and more powerful.J 

* "The Political Family, or a Discourse," etc., pp. 15-27, by Isaac 
Hunt, Philadelphia, 1775. 

j- u A Letter to the People of America," p. 29, London, 1768. 
See, also, Lecky, "England in the Eighteenth Century," edition of 
1882, vol. iii. p. 223. 

J A year after the French alliance we find many prominent men 
deserting the Revolutionary party. They had been ' c lying on their 
oars to see which way the game would finally go," and had decided 
that the patriot cause, even with the assistance of France, was hopeless. 
Ourwen, ' Journal and Letters, ' ' p. 207. 


Even stout and pugnacious patriots like John Adams 
could at times find no comfort. Suppose Great Britain 
crushed the whole outbreak, as she evidently intended to 
'do, and governed the colonies as she had governed Ireland 
or India, where would he be ? 

" I go mourning in my heart all the day long ; though I say noth- 
ing, I am melancholy for the public and anxious for my family. As 
for myself, a frock and trousers, a hoe and spade would do for my re- 
maining days." 

"I feel unutterahle anxiety," he writes again. "God grant us 
wisdom and fortitude I Should the opposition "be suppressed, should 
this country suhmit, what infamy, what ruin, God forhid ! Death in 
any form is less terrible." 

"There is one ugly reflection," he says, in a letter to Joseph 
"Warren. " Brutus and Cassius were conquered and slain, Hampden 
died in the field, Sidney on the scaffold, Harrington in jail. This is 
cold comfort." Morse, u Adams," pp. 54, 60. 

It was simply a desperate chance, a forlorn hope, which 
the patriot colonists seized with that faith, that deter- 
mination to do or perish, which only rebels and enthusiasts 
inspired by great ideas possess. They could not prove con- 
clusively that their ideal and hope of independence was 
either possible or practicable ; and the clever writers among 
the loyalists could easily make it seem to be a delusion or 
a chimera. After a certain point was reached on the patriot 
side all argument became useless, and hundreds of humble 
instances of this were occurring every day. Thomas John- 
ston, for example, of Charlotte County, Virginia, had been 
argued and expostulated with, and doubtless balanced and 
worried in his own mind a great deal. But at last he re- 
duced it all to the simple announcement, "I expect to 
share with the Americans in the present unhappy contest, 
whether the event proves good or bad;"* and that was 
really all that could be said. 

* American Archives, fourth series, vol. iz., January 30, 1776. 




the month of May, while the Congress was 
debating whether it would adopt the extreme measures 
which such men as John Adams were advocating, General 
Howe, accompanied by Burgoyne, Clinton., and several 
thousand men, was on the ocean ; and on the 25th of May, 
they sailed into Boston harbor and joined Gage in the town. 
Gage's force was by this means raised to about 10,000, 
so that it seemed comparatively easy for him to face the 
16,000 farmers who shut him in on the land side. 

After all that Howe had said to his constituents about the 
righteousness of the American cause, and that he would not 
fight against such people, there was surprise and some 
indignation among the Whigs in England when his 
appointment was announced. The Congress at Philadel- 
phia declared that " America was amazed to find the name 
of Howe in the catalogue of her enemies. She loved his 
brother." * 

" You should have refused to go against the Americans/' 
said his old supporters at Nottingham, ' ( as you said you 
would." But Howe, not in the least disconcerted, replied 
that his appointment came not as an offer, but as an order 
from the king, and he had no choice but to obey.f He 
was to serve as a subordinate for a few months, and then 
supersede Gage as commander-in-chief, to put down the 
American rebellion. 

* "The Address to the People of Ireland," p. 8. 

f Bancroft, "History of the United States, " edition of 1884, vol. 
iv. p. 129 j Galloway, "Reply to the Observations of Lieutenant- 
General Sir W. Howe, JJ pp. 112, 138, London, 1780. 


So he was in Boston, with the troops camped on that 
hill where we now follow the streets called Beacon and 
Tremont. From the hill one could then look over the 
houses below and see far out into the harbor and watch the 
approaching ships rise up out of the horizon. 

Beacon Hill, on which the troops encamped on vacant 
lots of ground and on the common, was then exactly what 
its name implies. On the top of it was constructed a sort 
of high platform which could be heaped up with pitch- 
pine and combustibles, which a few strokes of a flint and 
steel would send blazing into the air. It was a monument 
of rebellion, a symbol of the passion for self-government, 
and might have been made the Massachusetts coat of arms. 
Nearly a hundred years before, when Massachusetts heard 
that James II., the symbol of British despotism, had been 
driven from the throne, this beacon was kindled. The 
modern telegraph and telephone could not have delivered 
their message more speedily. The people understood. 
They poured into the town. They seized the officials of 
the British power, governor and all, and, gently placing 
them on ships, sent them back to England. The colony 
belonged to the people again for a little while, as in the old 
days before they lost their first charter ; and one moment 
of self-government was to a Massachusetts man worth the 
sacrifice of all the rest of life. 

But now there was a different scene on Beacon Hill. 
The British government was more powerful than it had 
ever been before ; and one could gaze with amused interest 
on the ten thousand troops shut up in a town with the 
townsfolk who were their enemies. 

The soldiers, Lieutenant Clarke tells us, seemed 
shorter in stature than the Americans. There were some 
regiments of veterans, famous organizations, such as the 
Forty-seventh, "Wolfe's Own," the Thirty-eighth, and 


the Fifty-second. There were Irishmen in the ranks, and 
a regiment called " The Royal Irish." It was rather 
curious that Irishmen should be fighting to destroy the 
ideas and principles which in the next century saved thou- 
sands of their race from death in the Irish famine, and 
gave millions more a refuge and a home, a liberty and 
prosperity unattainable for them under Britain's rule. 

In Boston, however, at this time, Britain's soldiery, 
boisterous and boastful, were living merrily enough. They 
took the Old South Church for the cavalry, or, as an officer 
described it, "a meeting-house where sedition has been 
often preached, is clearing out to be a riding-school for the 
dragoons." * 


Sentinels posted in all parts of the town were'perpetually 
challenging the people, and quarrels were frequent because 
of the strained conditions. The people were ready to 
believe any evil of the soldiery, and the soldiery were 
anxious to find evil among the people. The people insisted 
that they had caught Captain Wilson, of the Fifty-ninth, 
inciting the negro slaves of the town to attack their masters, 
and the army believed that it had complete evidence of a 
plot among the townsfolk to massacre all the British 
officers who were quartered in dwelling-houses, f 

Most of the rebel townsfolk, especially the prominent 
ones, had gone away. Hancock's handsome residence 
was closed. No one would have answered a knock at 
Samuel Adams's rickety dwelling. But many of the ordi- 
nary people, who could not very well be tried for treason, 
remained. Loyalists were numerous, and Gage had a citi- 
zens' patrol of three hundred of them, whom he made very 
proud by giving them badges. No doubt they ridiculed 

* Carter, " Genuine Detail of the Blockade of Boston," p. 8. 
f Clarke, ' Impartial and Authentic JSTarrative of the Battle of 
Bunker Hill," p. 25. 


the farmers 7 army, gave plenty of suggestions for suppress- 
ing the wicked rebellion as quickly as possible, and were 
happy in their confidence that the beneficence of British 
rule would soon be re-established. 

Soon, however, there came a day, a Saturday afternoon, 
rf the greatest possible excitement, when all the inhabi- 
tants then in the town loyalists, rebels, and soldiers 
could stand on the hill or climb on the roofs of the houses, 
or on the masts of ships, and, looking across towards 
Charlestown, see redcoats mowed down, whole ranks at a 
time, by old fowling-pieces and Queen Anne muskets in 
the hands of farmers ; see the blood staining the bright 
June grass, and wounded men rising on their elbows to 
vomit, than which, after a bull-fight, what could be a 
grander or more ennobling sight. 

It is not often that a battle is seen with perfect distinct- 
ness by non-combatant spectators who outnumber by thou- 
sands the forces engaged on both sides of the fight. But 
Gage, military governor and commander-in-chief of Mas- 
sachusetts, insisted on giving his people this spectacle. 

It had been for a long time quite obvious to him that 
the hill north of Boston across a narrow strip of water 
should be occupied as an outpost, because if the farmers 
seized it they could cannonade the town. So now, being 
greatly reinforced by the new arrivals, he made prepara- 
tions for occupying and fortifying that hill, when lo ! one 
morning, June 17, 1775, he beheld the farmers in full 
possession of it. They had worked like beavers all night, 
making breastworks of earth, hay, and fence-rails, after 
their absurd rustic manner ; and they kept working away 
all morning in spite of the guns fired at them from the 

The hill which the farmers had seized was Breed's Hill, 
on a peninsula connected with the main-land by a very 


narrow passage. The patriot army, which at this time was 
commanded by General Ward, assisted by Putnam, Stark, 
Prescott, and others, had learned of the probability of the 
British seizing the hill, and had determined to forestall 
them. In the judgment of military critics it was a rather 
desperate undertaking, because they were going out on a 
peninsula where the British, by seizing the narrow passage 
at the main-land, might catch them like sheep in a pen. 

It is probable that they were led to take this risk by the 
feeling that, if they remained inactive and avoided fighting, 
the patriot cause would be injured and discouraged. This 
explanation applies to several battles during the first three 
years of the Revolution which were fought under great 
disadvantages, and in which defeat for the Americans was 
certain. But certain defeat was far less injurious than a 
refusal to fight. 

They, however, risked on the peninsula only fifteen 
hundred men, who went out under the leadership of Put- 
nam, Prescott, and Stark. They at first intended to seize 
Bunker Hill, but found Breed's Hill easier to fortify and 
nearer to Boston. They built the earth redoubt on Breed's 
Hill, and then extended their line to the water on their 
left by means of fence-rails, hay, and a low stone wall. 

Gage declined to take the obvious course of sending a 
force behind the rebels at the neck of the peninsula. He 
said he would be placing sucli a force in a dangerous posi- 
tion between the rebels on Breed's Hill and their reinforce- 
ments near Cambridge. There was no necessity, he thought, 
for taking so much risk as that, because two or three thou- 
sand of his Majesty's troops could easily send these peasants 
flying by attacking them in front in British fashion. This 
force he placed in command of Howe, with General Pigot 
to assist him. 

It was a strange position for a Whig, the brother of 


George Howe, to lead such an attack on the New England 
farmers, who had fought under both him and his brother 
in the French and Indian War. If left to himself, he 
would never have made such a front attack. He would 
have made one of those flanking and rear movements with 
which afterwards, whenever compelled to fight, he was 
invariably successful against Washington without a great 
loss of life. But he was not yet in supreme command. 
He was a subordinate and must obey. 

In all the controversy over Howe's conduct in the Revo- 
lution, his courage was never questioned. In fact, his repu- 
tation for rather remarkable courage had long before this 
been well established. Sending Pigot up against the re- 
doubt, Howe led his own division against that part of the 
farmers' line where the rail fences had been placed together 
and stuffed with hay. He had chosen the worst place, 
for behind that hay was the old trapper, Stark, from New 
Hampshire, and that other mad rebel, "Old Put," the 
wolf-hunter from Connecticut. 

Howe is said to have made a speech to his men, which 
was, in substance, " You must drive these farmers from 
the hill, or it will be impossible for us to remain in Bos- 
ton. But I shall not desire any of you to advance a single 
step beyond where I am at the head of your line." * 

The card-player was always very precise on the battle- 
field. When within one hundred yards of the hay he 
compelled his troops to deploy into line. For this he was 
afterwards severely criticised. He should have taken them 
up, it was said, in columns. But in columns they would 
have been just as much of a target. The card-player 
usually knew what he was doing, especially in sparing the 
lives of his men. They moved up, about twelve feet apart 

* Clarke, "Impartial and Authentic Narrative of the Battle of 
. Bunker Hill," p. 3. 


in front, but very close after one another, in deep, long 
files. They were beautiful, brilliant, their red coats, white 
knee-breeches, and shining musket-barrels glittering in the 
sun. At the distance of about a hundred yards they began 
firing at the hay, from which there was an occasional shot 
from some patriot who could not be restrained. 

No doubt they joked and encouraged one another, and 
shouted at the mohairs and dunghill tribe, as they called 
the colonists. " Let us take the bull by the horns," some 
of them are reported to have said ; and they may have 
sung snatches from their favorite song, "Hot Stuff :" 

" From such rascals as these may we fear a rebuff? 
Advance, grenadiers, and let fly your hot stuff." 

Unfortunately, our accounts of this remarkable battle 
are very meagre in reliable details. "We know, however, 
that they moved up to within fifty steps of the hay, 
amazed that not a shot answered their volleys. Fifty 
steps seem now a very short range, but all the battles of 
that time were fought at about that distance, because the 
smooth-bore muskets and shot-guns that were used were 
inaccurate beyond fifty yards, and practically useless at a 

Suddenly, when the front line of the regulars had moved 
a few steps nearer, the faces of the farmers rose above the 
barrier and the sweep of the farmers' scythe, those dreadful 
volleys of miscellaneous missiles that had been crammed 
into the old guns, made a terrible day for British soldiers.* 

* A bullet and from three to nine buckshot was a common load for 
a musket, and this practice of using buckshot in addition to the bul- 
let prevailed down to the time of our Mexican War. Colonel Dear- 
born relates that at the attack on Quebec his gun was loaded with a 
bullet and ten buckshot. Codman, u Arnold's Expedition to Que- 
bec, 7 ' p. 241. The patriot soldiers often, it seems, put old nails in 
their guns, and Howe complained to "Washington, September 21, 1776, 


Whole ranks were cat down to a man. The survivors 
hesitated, and then turned down the hill like frightened 
sheep, to halt at the bottom and stare back at their com- 
rades, struggling and dying on the grass. 

Pigot's division was in a similar plight. 

The men-of-war in the harbor now renewed their can- 
nonade. The balls ricochetted up the hill-side, and the 
shells burst savagely overhead, but the farmers were 
again entirely silent. 

Howe rallied his men. He had been with some of 
these regiments in Canada in the French war, and no 
doubt addressed to them some stirring words which have 
not been recorded. He led them up again, up to within 
that same fifty paces, without a shot in reply. They 
moved nearer. Could it be that they could reach the 
breastwork and spring over it unharmed ? They moved 
on, drew closer ; they were within thirty yards of the hay, 
which suddenly, at a word from the trapper and the wolf- 
hunter, turned into a spitting flame and smoke, and Howe 
must have believed that this was the last fight of his 
career. They stayed a little longer this time ; they had 
come so far that they tried to move up closer ; they saw 
the American face as no Englishmen had ever seen it 

"Colonel Abercrombie, are the Yankees cowards?" a 
farmer would shout, as he rested his piece on the breast- 
work. !No doubt also terrible curses and fierce denuncia- 
tions of British rakehells, tyrants, and brutes were poured 
over with the bullets. It was something new for a British 
officer to see an old farmer let a young redcoat come up 
close and then, levelling his rusty duck-gun of vast bore, 

of the use of bullets cut in half and each half affixed to the end of a 
nail. De Lancey's note to Jones, ''New York in the Revolution," 
vol. i. p. 610, 


draw on the boy the deadly aim that tore him to pieces 
with buckshot and slugs. 

"There, there!" they would cry; "see that officer! 
Shoot him." And two or three would cover him with 
their guns, terrible old pieces, loaded with all manner 
of missiles. They had been told to aim for the belt, 
and nearly every soldier was hit in the thighs and 
loins. When he had received there the discharge 
from an old duck-gun he was a horrible sight for the 

But Howe, though resolved, if necessary, to make that 
day his last, could not hold his men up there by the hay. 
They fled panic-stricken. Some even rushed into their 
boats at the shore ; and Howe soon found himself at the 
bottom of the hill, no doubt very much surprised to be 
yet alive. His white silk knee-breeches and long white 
stockings were soaked with blood ; but it was the blood 
of his men among whom he had trampled. He had not a 
single subordinate officer remaining ; they were all lying 
up on the hill-side. 

A long time elapsed, while he consulted with Pigot and 
his officers, who were for giving it up and going back. 
But the card-player had a reputation to support, and was 
determined to see it out. 

The village of Charleston, along the right of the patriot 
line, was now on fire. The thick, black smoke that comes 
from burning dwelling-houses was rolled out by the wind 
in a vast cloud clear-cut against the brilliant, sunny sky 
of that June day. Beneath that terrible gloomy canopy 
that was ploughing through the glittering sunlight crouched 
the silent Americans, looking down at a thousand dead 
and dying Englishmen on the hill-side, while all around, 
almost as close as in a theatre, the thousands of spectators 
in windows, and perched on the tops of houses and chim- 


neys and ship-masts, watched this wondrous close of the 
second act. 

No such battle with such a large audience close at hand 
can ever be fought again, unless we go back to fire-arms 
that are useless at one hundred yards. The curtain rose 
on the third act in this theatre, this drama of history that 
has become a sign and a monument to the world, the sneer 
and sarcasm of monarchs, conquerors, and lovers of do- 
minion, the hope of the enthusiastic and the oppressed. 
Was it the design that it should be enacted like a gladi- 
ator's show in a little natural arena with overwhelming 
clouds of witnesses that it might become a symbol, an 
example to keep alive the endless struggle, the unsolvable 
problem of the world ? 

Howe sent Pigot up again, and he went up himself. 
He ordered the men to free themselves of their heavy 
knapsacks. He concentrated the whole British force on 
the redoubt, and used the artillery more effectively. Even 
with this advantage the first volley his men received was 
very destructive. But the ammunition of the patriots was 
exhausted. They were hurling stones over the breastwork 
and retreating. The regulars sprang up upon the redoubt. 
They saw barefooted countrymen with trousers rolled up 
to their knees walking away ; and there were scarcely any 
dead or wounded in the trenches. But only a few of those 
regulars who first mounted the redoubt lived to tell what 
they saw, for they were shot down almost to a man with 
the remains of the ammunition. 

Then the whole British force swarmed over the breast- 
work, and for a time there was confusion and hand-to- 
hand conflicts as the Americans retreated. The British 
were finally able to deliver a cross-fire, which caused most 
of the loss to the patriots that day. 

But they moved off in good order. A few yards' re- 


treat easily put them beyond the effective range of the 
muskets. Howe ordered no pursuit, although Clinton 
urged him to do it, and the helplessness of the fanners 
was obvious. He had been ordered to take the hill ; he 
would do no more. But the loyalists always believed 
that he could have inflicted a terrible disaster, could have 
slaughtered or captured three-fourths of the rebels, and 
seriously crippled the rebellion. 

This was the first specimen of his line of policy, and 
also the beginning of the serious criticism upon him. 
From that time, though invariably successful in any battle 
he personally directed, he never pursued, never followed 
up the advantage of a victory or allowed it to be followed 
up by others. 

The farmers, grouped in an irregular mass, a most mis- 
cellaneous, strangely clad, disorganized body to soldiers' 
eyes, withdrew from the arena on which they had played 
their part while the black smoke of the burning town was 
still rolling high overhead. They had represented their 
new idea, and they returned somewhat leisurely along 
Charlestown neck, pelted, as their only applause, by spent 
and random balls and cannonaded to no purpose from two 
gunboats or floating batteries.* 

There had been about 1500 or 1700 of them, and they 
had lost in dead and wounded 449. Howe took out from 
Boston between 2500 and 3000 regulars, and he left 1054, 
more than a third, on the hill-side. 

* " American Historical Review," vol. i. p. 401 ; Dearborn, a Bun- 
ker Hill;" "Whieldon, " Bunker Hill;" Frothingham, "Siege of 
Boston, "p. 133. 





HISTORIANS and Fourth of July orators have described 
the thrill of exultation which they say passed like a wave 
southward through the colonies with the news of the battle 
of Bunker HilL The patriots were defeated, lost their hill 
and 449 in killed and wounded, but they had laid low 
1054 British regulars in resplendent uniforms, of whom 
eighty-nine were commissioned officers. They were en- 
couraged ; they could afford to sell the English many hills 
at the same price ; and all manner of inferences have been 
drawn as to the inspiriting effect of this battle upon the 
patriot colonists. 

This, however, is all modern rhetoric and supposition. 
Contemporary patriot opinion expressed no elation ; but, 
on the contrary, disappointment, indignation, and severe 
censure for an expedition which was said to have been rash 
in conception, discreditable in execution, and narrowly 
escaped overwhelming disaster.* The patriots abused their 
troops for going into a trap on the peninsula as loudly as 
the loyalists abused the regulars for not closing the trap, 
and not pursuing when they had the opportunity. In con- 
temporary opinion Bunker Hill was regarded as having 
accomplished nothing for either side. 

Looking back through the long perspective, it of course 
seems most dramatic and interesting, but that must not be 
allowed to obscure the historic sense. The patriots wanted 
no more Bunker Hills. They knew that something very 

* Frothingham, " Siege of Boston, " p. 164; " American Historical 
Review," vol. i. p. 404. 


different was required ; and, fortunately, at the suggestion 
of John Adams, the Congress on June 15 had made Colo- 
nel "Washington, of Virginia, a general, and placed him in 
command of the unorganized force of farmers at Cam- 
bridge. He arrived at Cambridge July 2, and during the 
whole summer was engaged in trying to persuade the 
rabble to become an army. This duty was difficult ; but 
not from lack of time, for he had the whole summer and 
the following autumn, winter, and spring for the purpose. 
The Revolution differed from modern wars in having long 
periods of quiescence, and we have now reached one of the 
most striking of these periods. 

After the battle of Banker Hill, June 17, 1775, there 
was, it is true, Arnold's and Montgomery's romantic dash 
at Canada the following autumn, but there was no fighting 
in the rebellious colonies, where we would naturally expect 
it, until the summer of 1776, when Clinton attacked 
Charleston, South Carolina, June 28 ; and the battle of 
Long Island was fought August 27. England would 
not in modern times allow such a long interval to elapse 
in the suppression of independence. 

It was a great advantage to the patriots to hold them- 
selves independent, unsuppressed, anJ even unattacked, for 
a whole year. It helped to prove the "Whig position that 
the Tory ministry had raised a rebellion which they could 
not suppress ; and it increased the possibility of that aid 
from France which was the dread of England and the 
best hope of the Americans. 

The army, if we may call it by that name, which was 
besieging Boston was composed almost exclusively of New 
Englanders. But it was joined during the summer by a 
few troops from the frontiers of Pennsylvania and Virginia, 
who aroused much interest, because they were expected to 
make deadly use of the rifle at three hundred yards instead 


of using the smooth-bore musket, which was useless at 
only half that distance. 

Shortly before the battle of Bunker Hill the Congress 
passed a resolution for raising six companies of riflemen in 
Pennsylvania, two in Maryland, and two in Virginia. 
Subsequently, on June 22, they increased the number of 
Pennsylvania rifle companies to eight, which were to be 
formed into a battalion and join the patriot army at 

During July these eight companies were rapidly recruited 
in the interior of the colony among the Scotch-Irish fron- 
tiersmen and hunters. No money had to be appropriated to 
buy their weapons, for, like the Boer of South Africa, each 
one of them procured his rifle by taking it down from the 
pegs on which it rested above his fireplace. He slung his 
own powder-horn across his shoulder and strapped his 
bullet-pouch around his waist. 

As for his uniform, it consisted of a round hat, which 
could be bought for a trifle at any country store, and a 
garment made at home by his wife, and sometimes called a 
smock-frock, which was nothing more than a shirt belted 
around the waist and hanging down over the hips instead 
of being tucked into the trousers. It was the same sort 
of garment used by farm laborers, and it was made of the 
cotton cloth which is now used for overalls, or of ticking 
such as we use to cover mattresses and pillows. When 
used in the woods it was called a rifle-shirt or hunting-shirt, 

* The rifle is supposed to have been introduced in the colonies pre- 
viously to the year 1730 from the Austrian Tyrol. We find it manu- 
factured at Philadelphia and Lancaster, Pennsylvania, ahout that 
time. Its use spread rapidly in Western Pennsylvania, Maryland, 
and Virginia, which we may call the rifle districts at the time of the 
Revolution, the only regions where riflemen could he recruited. The 
weapon was hut little known or used in New England. Magazine 
of American History, vol. xxiv. p. 179. 


was sometimes ornamented with a fringed cape, and into its 
ample looseness above the belt were stuffed loaves of bread, 
salt pork, dried venison, a frying-pan, or a coffee-pot, until 
the hardy woodsman became most unsoldier-like in figure. 

It may be said that our pictures of handsome Bevolu- 
tionary uniforms are very misleading. It is pleasant, of 
course, to think of the Eevolution as a great spontaneous 
uprising of all the people, without doubt, hesitation, or 
misgiving, and that each hero put on his beautiful buff and 
blue uniform, brought to him presumably by a fairy, or 
found growing on a tree, and marched, with a few pictu- 
resque hardships, to glorious victory. But the actual con- 
ditions were very different from what most of us have 
been led to believe. Some companies and regiments tried 
at the start to have uniforms. We find uniforms men- 
tioned here and there, and boards of officers adopted 
fashion-plates of beautiful garments for all ranks; but 
there is many a slip between a fashion-plate and getting 
the beautiful garment on a rebel's back. Those who actu- 
ally saw the patriot troops in the field describe them as 
without uniforms, very ragged, and at best clothed in 
home-made hunting-shirts. Many regiments stained their 
hunting-shirts with butternut, which was used for a simi- 
lar purpose by the Confederates of the Civil "War. The 
hunting-shirts were usually white, and butternut gave at 
once the color that the white cotton cloth would assume 
after a few weeks of dirt and smoke in camp. 

Washington, in an order of July 24, 1776, recommended 
the hunting-shirt for all the troops. 

c ' The G-eneral, sensible of the difficulty and expense of providing 
clothes of almost any kind for the troops, feels an unwillingness to 
recommend, much more to order, any kind of uniform ; "but as it is ab- 
solutely necessary that the men should have clothes, and appear decent 
and tight, he earnestly encourages the use of hunting-shirts, with long 


"breeches made of the same cloth, gaiter-fashion about the legs, to all 
those yet unprovided. " " Force," 5th series, vol. i. pp. 676, 677. 

Lafayette has described in his memoirs the patriot army 
he found in this country on his arrival in the summer of 
1777 : 

" Ahout eleven thousand men ill-armed, and still -worse clothed, 
presented a strange spectacle. Their clothes were parti-colored and 
many of them -were almost naked. The best clad wore hunting shirts, 
large gray linen [cotton] coats which were much used in Carolina. 
As to their military tactics, it will be sufficient to say that, for a regi- 
ment ranged in battle order to move forward on the right of its line it 
was necessary for the left to make a continued counter-march. They 
were always arranged in two lines, the smallest men in the first line." 
Yol i. p! 19, London, 1837. 

At first the officers could not be distinguished from the 
men ; but on May 3, 1776, they were ordered to wear 
colored cockades of ribbon. A major-general was marked 
by a purple or blue ribbon ; a brigadier by pink or light 
red; the staff and the adjutant by green.* "When the 
French officers appeared among us after the alliance, our 
officers were often unable to entertain them from lack of 
decent clothes and food. 

Many of us have, of course, seen scores of portraits of 
Revolutionary officers in very good uniforms, which do 
away with all appearance of rebellion. Those were 
uniforms for a picture, in order that our officers and men 
might appear as smart-looking as European troops; but 
they were not the garments worn by our ancestors in the 
war. Good uniforms could always be painted in a pic- 
ture. Who would have an ancestor painted in a butternut 
rifle-shirt and labelled rebel, when an artist could paint 
a portrait and paint on it a uniform from the fashion-plate 
of the Board of War, such a uniform as our ancestors 
* Saffell, " Kecords of the Bevolution," p. 325. 


would have worn had they had the time and money to 
obtain one. 

The patriot army consisted for the most part of mere 
squads of militia, over whom Washington, and even their 
own chosen officers, had little or no authority except that 
of enthusiasm and persuasion. The army often melted 
away before their eyes without any power on their part to 
stop the disbanding. In 1777 the Continental line was 
formed of men who enlisted for three years or for the war, 
and they constituted a small but somewhat steady nucleus, 
round which the militia squads could rally. The militia 
served for six or three months, or a few weeks. It was a 
" come-and-go" army and Graydon tells us that the officers 
as well as the men felt that they could leave with impunity 
when they were dissatisfied.* 

The rifle companies were rapidly recruited in Pennsyl- 
vania and Virginia during July, and as each company got 
ready it started for Boston, and for several weeks these 
hardy fellows were scattered along the beautiful route 
through the mountainous region of Pennsylvania and New 
York, crossing the Hudson above West Point, thence 
through another mountainous region by Litchfield, Connec- 
ticut, and on through Massachusetts. Their first destination^ 
was Reading, in Pennsylvania, where they received their 
blankets, knapsacks, and ammunition. These supplies were 
all they required from the patriot government, and when 
these were furnished they immediately sought the enemy. 

Their expectations from the long range of their weapons 
were partially realized. The rifle companies -did good ser- 
vice, their numbers were increased, and we hear of them in 
almost every battle. Besides those already mentioned, there 
was a corps of them under McCall, another under Wills, 
and there were numerous temporary organizations. The 
* G-raydon, " Memoirs, " edition of 1846, pp. 181, 184. 


British also had a few riflemen, but the rifle was not 
generally adopted by the military profession until about 
one hundred years afterwards, when the breech-loader 
came into use. As a muzzle-loader it was too slow in re- 
loading, and required more care and skill than could be 
had from the ordinary recruit. To insure accurate and 
long range the bullet had to be carefully wrapped in a 
leather patch and forced with difficulty into the muzzle, 
often aided by a little mallet. The weapon was also easily 
fouled by repeated firing, and would then lose its range 
and accuracy, and become almost useless. 

At Boston the riflemen seem to have done little or noth- 
ing except to pick off an occasional regular who incau- 
tiously showed himself above the line of fortifications 
round Bunker Hill. For the rest of the time they were 
inactive with the others. One day they picked off an 
officer in his handsome uniform, and the report quickly 
spread that this man's income had been 10,000 a year. 
On another occasion William Simpson, who had accom- 
panied the riflemen as a gentleman volunteer, was shot in 
the foot and died of his wound. They had a grand funeral 
over him, and eulogized and mourned for him as though he 
had been a statesman. Incidents were few in that long 
summer and autumn, and they had to make the most of 
anything that happened. 

It must have been a rare sight to see that patriot army 
living in huts made of field stones and turf, or twisted 
green boughs, some in improvised tents made of sail-cloth 
or any stuff they could stretch over poles ; some quartered 
in friendly houses, some sleeping in Massachusetts Hall of 
Harvard College ; and all the supposed sixteen thousand 
scattered in this manner through Cambridge and half 
round Boston, with the patient Washington and the 
humorous Greene trying to coax them to submit to disci- 


pline. General Greene was a Quaker from Rhode Island ; 
there were many jokes at his expense, and Washington 
made a point of referring to him all suggestions of peace.* 

There was cannonading almost every day from the 
British. Thousands of balls and shells were fired during 
the summer with the most trifling result. The ground 
was ploughed up, the apples came rattling down in the 
orchards as the big missiles thumped the trees and the 
shells spluttered among the limbs. Occasionally a ball 
would pass through a house, filling every room and the 
plates and dishes with a cloud of plaster-dust 

McCurtin tells us of a loyalist who, being, one evening, 
the only man in company with a number of young patriot 
women, began to abuse the Congress* The girls seized him, 
tore off his coat and shirt, arid, instead of tar, covered him 
to the waist with molasses, and for feathers took the downy 
tops of flags that grew in the garden. 

Patriots deserted to the British, and regulars deserted 
from the army in Boston and came into the Cambridge 
camp in twos or threes. Sometimes they had to swim the 
water which surrounded Boston, and were not infrequently 
drowned in the attempt. McCurtin kept a steady record 
of their arrivals, and they were heartily welcomed to the 
patriot ranks, which were believed to be growing to such 
stupendous numbers that they would soon be able to over- 
whelm all the armies that could be sent from England, f 

* Greene, "Life of G-eneral Greene j" McCurtin, Journal in 
Papers Relating to the Maryland Line ; Seventy-six Society, 1857 ; 
Records of the Pennsylvania Riflemen, second series, Pennsylvania 
Archives, vol. x. 

f Some of the patriot pamphleteers, for the sake of encouraging their 
party, made most extraordinary statements of the number of troops 
that could be raised. In u The Parmer refuted" (Hamilton, Works, 
Lodge edition, vol. i. p. 158) it is said that America would have at 
least 500,000 soldiers, while England could send only 15,000. An- 


There seems to have been a systematic exaggeration of 
numbers at this time, as well as later on, in the Revolu- 
tion. It could not be very well prevented, because the 
officers were quite willing to have it so. There was much 
coming and going, and consequently an apparent increase, 
because some of the men were returning to their farms, and 
others were coming in to take their places. 

The best instance of the exaggeration is a passage in 
McCurtin's "Journal/' of September 20: "This day 
also our army is computed to be above 60,000, and 
that we have taken and killed of the regulars 2500." 
This was a very gross exaggeration. The army was 
never above 16,000, and as soon as autumn came it quickly 
decreased to less than 10,000. 

It was an army in which, in most instances, you could 
not distinguish the captain or the colonel from his men ; 
an army in which there were applications every day for 
leave to go home to help get in the hay, or to see how the 
wife was getting on ; and, if leave were granted, the fellow 
always took his allotment of powder with him to shoot 
squirrels, and he seldom brought any of the powder back. 
Shaving was more universal than now, and the greatest 
fuss was made over it. It was believed that it could be 
made a good starting-point for regular discipline, and a 
colonel was sometimes seen shaving one of his own men. 

The New Englanders of that time, and more especially 
the lower classes, were full of what the colonists farther 
south called " the levelling spirit" Their horrible manners 

other writer places the number at 300,000 to 400, 000." Considera- 
tions on the Measures carrying on with Respect to the British Colonies, ' > 
etc., fifth edition, p. 25, London, 1774. The famous loyalist pamphlet, 
" Plain Truth, says that, after deducting Quakers, Anabaptists, and 
loyalists, the patriots might have 60,000 to 70,000 capable of bearing 
arms. As it turned out, the British government sent Howe over 
50,000 men, and Washington never had 25,000. 


are described by Mrs. Knight in her diary of 1704, and at 
a much later date in Mrs. Grant's " Memoirs of an Ameri- 
can Lady." o?he rank, crude, and unpleasant side of 
democracy seems to have had its first foothold in New 

Mrs, Grant describes the disgust of the New Yorkers 
when they were first invaded by the Yankees, whose inso- 
lent and brutal abuse of rank and titles was as revolting as 
their nasal, drawling voices and their uncouth phrases and 
slang. They would fasten themselves upon you, pressing 
you with their drawling questions about your most private 
affairs, railing in the mean time against aristocrats and 
orating on liberty and the " eternal rights of man." 

They were the beginning of a class which, becoming 
inflated by the success of independence, spread over the 
country to the horror of all well-educated people and in 
fulfilment of loyalist prophecies. They gave Grant the 
material for his famous speech in Parliament, and many 
years afterwards they furnished the stock material for 
Dickens and other Englishmen who found profit in ridi- 
culing the Americans. 

In the army before Boston " levelling" was so necessary 
that the officers, instead of cultivating the usual severity 
and dignity of manner, were obliged to cultivate the most 
extreme and absurd humility. It was their only way of 
controlling their men, who were almost out of their minds 
on the subject of equality. Graydon gives us some amusing 
glimpses of this. He was not with the army before Boston, 
but he saw the New England troops the next year at New 

"The appearance of things was not much calculated to excite 
sanguine expectations in the mind of a sober observer. Great numbers 
of people were indeed to be seen, and those who are not accustomed to 
the sight of bodies under arms are always prone to exaggerate them. 


But the propensity to swell the mass has not an equal tendency to 
convert it into soldiery ; and the irregularity, want of discipline, had 
arms, and defective equipment in all respects, of this multitudinous 
assemhlage, gave no favorable impression of its prowess. The materials 
of which the eastern "battalions were composed were apparently the 
same as those of which I had seen so unpromising a specimen at Lake 
George. I speak particularly of the officers who were in. no single 
respect distinguishahle from the men, other than in the colored cockades, 
which for this very purpose had heen prescribed in general orders ; a 
different color being assigned to the officers of each grade. So far 
from aiming at a deportment which might raise them above their 
privates and thence prompt them to due respect and obedience to their 
commands, the object was, by humility to preserve the existing 
blessing of equality, an illustrious instance of which was given by 
Colonel Putman, the chief engineer of the army, and no less a per- 
sonage than the nephew of the major-general of that name. c What ! ' 
says a person meeting him one day with a piece of meat in his hand, 
* carrying home your rations yourself, colonel ? ; * Yes, > says he, and 
I do it to set the officers a good example. 7 " " Memoirs," edition of 
1846, p. 147. See, also, Stedman, "American War," edition of 1794, 
p. 206, London. 

A colonel often made drummers and fifers of his sons 
for the sake of the small additional revenue to his family 
chest ; and a captain was known to have made money by 
stealing blankets. Small money-making, pettiness, and 
pilfering of every kind were so rife as to cause "Washington 
and many others the greatest discouragement and anxiety. 
The first outburst of the rights of man was by no means 
promising or in good taste. Many of the New England 
regiments had negroes mixed promiscuously among the 
white troops, which, to a person like Graydon, coming from 
no farther south than Pennsylvania, had a very disagree- 
able and degrading effect. 

He also noticed that none of the subordinate officers 
belonged to the upper classes of colonial society. Accus- 
tomed to a totally different state of things farther south, 
he inquired the cause, and was curtly told that the sons of 


such people had all been sent to Europe to be educated and 
to keep out of harm's way. Probably the real reason was 
that such men could not have controlled the troops gone 
mad with levelling. 

Graydon also tells us of the famous Connecticut cavalry 
troop, composed of rather elderly men who had armed 
themselves with the long, single-barrelled duck-guns that 
were used in those days. The barrel alone of one of 
those guns was seven feet long. "When the tallest man 
stood leaning on one it extended two feet above his head. 
Those cavalry duckers were worth going a long way to see. 
The loyalists always made much sport of the Northern 
patriot cavalry and their old farm- and cart-horses of every 
color, "some with long tails, some with bob-tails, and 
some with no tails at all." But if a Connecticut ducker 
could get a rest for his old piece across the back of the 
horse, and a redcoat would stand still for a while at about 
forty yards, he would surely make great windows in his 
stomach, as they did at Bunker Hill. 

It is always very easy, however, to ridicule the appear- 
ance of a rebel army^ No army of freedom or indepen- 
dence was ever well dressed. \ There was plenty of good 
fighting material at Cambridge. Daniel Morgan, the com- 
mander of the Virginia riflemen, was one of those frontier 
characters of superb manhood and intelligence, of which 
we have, fortunately, had many specimens down into our 
own time ; but with another generation they will have all 
passed away. He was not appreciated by the Congress, 
but at the close of the war he showed remarkable military 
capacity. He was a powerful-looking man, and capable 
of arousing the enthusiasm of his men. 

General Putnam, or " Old Put," as they called him, the 
hero of the French War, was the life of the camps. In 
his shirt-sleeves, which was his usual summer garb, with 


an old hanger slung by a broad strap across his brawny 
shoulders, he was to be seen everywhere, and he was clam- 
orous to have a fight every day. People listened by the 
hour to the tales of his cutting-out expeditions and adven- 
tures. The troops who believed in levelling could have no 
objection to him as an officer, for he was a plain jovial 
farmer. When the, Boston Port Bill went into effect he 
started from his farm in Connecticut with one hundred 
and thirty sheep, driving them before him to Boston to 
relieve the suffering of the people. * 

There is no mention of any colors or flags carried by the 
farmer troops at Cambridge, and possibly they had none. 
A flag for the patriot cause had been designed about this 
time, and was used soon afterwards. It had on it a pine- 
tree and a coiled rattlesnake about to strike, with the 
motto, " Don't tread on me/' It was a good enough 
pirate's or smuggler's flag, the loyalists said ; a very proper 
red rag of rebellion, undignified, crude, with the snake as 
the emblem of low cunning, ingratitude, and treachery. 
Paul Jones was so disgusted with it that he was hardly 
willing to hoist it on his ship. The stars and stripes were 
not designed until nearly two years afterwards, f 

* Tarbox, "Life of Putnam," p. 118. 

t JFrotMngham, lt Siege of Boston," p. 103 ; Buell, " Life of Paul 
Jones," vol. vii. p. 49. 




THE attempt to take Canada was the most aggressive 
and daring effort that the patriots made during the war. 
It might have been successful, but the success could not 
have been long continued, because we had not sufficient 
force to hold such a large tract of country, unless a large 
part of its population would join our cause. 

It was an invasion of British territory, an invasion of a 
colony that had not rebelled or voluntarily joined us ; and 
in that respect it might appear inconsistent with our posi- 
tion of merely defending our own liberties, and might by 
some be thought to justify England in acts of the severest 
retaliation and suppression. But as we were at war with 
England our people thought that the more vigorous war we 
waged the better. Canada was a vulnerable point, and 
might perhaps want to join us. 

The attempt was made in the first flush of enthusiasm 
for the rights of man, when it was fondly believed by 
many that they could put in the field fifty thousand or 
even several hundred thousand men. A year or two later, 
when great difficulty was experienced in keeping together 
an army of 10,000, they realized how utterly out of the 
question it was to take Canada, or hold it if they should 
take it, and no more attempts on it were made. 

The strategic importance of Canada was obvious, be- 
cause the line of water communication, up the Hudson and 
through Lake Champlain to the St. Lawrence, if controlled 
by Great Britain, would enable her to cut the colonies in 
half, isolate the New England colonies, and separate them 
from the less rebellious communities to the south. This 


line of water communication was one of the great natural 
highways of that time, and might come into the complete 
control of England if she continued to hold the upper end 
of it in Canada. 

Daring the inactivity of the summer of 1775 two bold 
expeditions were planned, which, by their united efforts, 
would, it was believed, drive out the small force of British 
in Canada, secure the adhesion of the French population 
to the new colonial union, atone for the mistake of not 
securing that adhesion sooner, and punish England for 
passing the Quebec Act establishing Romanism and despotic 
government in such close proximity to New England. 

The first expedition was put under the command of 
General Philip Schuyler and General Richard Mont- 
gomery ; but by the ill-health of Schuyler the whole com- 
mand soon fell to Montgomery, who had been a British 
soldier and had served with distinction in America during 
the French War. He was an Irishman by birth and edu- 
cation, and his father had represented Lifford in the British 
Parliament. In the French War General Montgomery, like 
Howe and Barr6j had been a close associate of Wolfe and had 
partaken of his liberalism in politics. In fact, Montgomery 
went so far in liberalism that he left the army in 1773 and 
settled in New York, where he bought a farm near King's 
Bridge, and married Janet Livingston. He is described as 
a very efficient soldier and a man of most attractive person- 
ality and bearing. In reading about him one cannot help 
being reminded of George Howe, and the thought naturally 
occurs that a slight change in circumstances or slightly 
increased conviction might have led all of these men, Barr6, 
Burke, Admiral Howe, and General Howe, to follow Mont- 
gomery's example and remove themselves to America. 

In his expedition against Canada, Montgomery at first 
met with the most encouraging success. He proceeded 


by the route of Lake Champlain, fighting his way to the 
St. Lawrence ; and so long as he was successful some of the 
Canadians were willing to join him. The British governor 
and commander, Guy Carleton, abandoned Montreal and 
retreated down the river to save Quebec. Montgomery 
entered Montreal and prepared to unite in an attack on Que- 
bec with Benedict Arnold's expedition, which had moved 
directly against Quebec through the Maine wilderness. 

Arnold had visited Quebec and traded there in horses 
and merchandise, and was supposed to be familiar with 
its people and fortifications. His dash through the wilder- 
ness was desperate, romantic, and very American in its char- 
acter. He was to lead his men through more than a hun- 
dred miles of unknown forests, swamps, mountains, lakes, 
and rivers, impenetrable by the military methods of Europe, 
and to emerge suddenly from these fastnesses into the heart 
of the enemy's country, and by surprise and strategy attack 
his great citadel. He was to proceed from the coast of 
Maine up the Kennebec as far as its waters would carry 
him and then cross the water- shed as best he could to the 
Chaudi&re, which would bear him to the St. Lawrence. 

He took with him about 1100 men, most of them ordi- 
nary New England musketmen from the army at Cam- 
bridge ; but to complete his force he was given three com- 
panies of the riflemen, selected by lot. The companies on 
which the lot fell were Daniel Morgan's Virginians and 
Matthew Smith's and Hendrick's Pennsylvanians. A 
great many of Arnold's men kept journals of their experi- 
ences, and several of them, notably those by Henry and 
Morrison, are most graphic and vivid in their descriptions.* 

Towards the end of September Arnold's troops marched 

* A list of these journals is annexed to " Wild's Diary," Cam- 
bridge, 1886, and also to Mr. Codman's admirable book, " Arnold's 
Expedition to Quebec." 



from Cambridge to Newburyport, where sloops and 
schooners took them across the Gulf of Maine to the 
Kennebec, and very sea-sick they were before they entered 
the river. At Fort "Western, where Augusta now stands, 
their boats were ready for them, rough bateaux, built of 
common boards, two hundred and twenty of them, very 
badly constructed and leaky. 

They started up the stream, rowing and poling, in four 
divisions, a considerable distance apart, with the indefati- 
gable Daniel Morgan and his Virginians at the head. But 
soon they could neither pole nor row in the rocky stream. 
The men jumped overboard and dragged the boats, wading 
in the cold water all day, often sinking to their necks or 
over their heads in the deep pools, upsetting the leaky 
boats, losing provisions and often guns. They reached 
carrying places where they had to transport the heavy 
bateaux and cargoes round falls and rapids. The black 
soil was soaked with rain, and they sank knee-deep, stum- 
bling over stones and roots and fallen logs. "With the 
heavy bateau grinding into their shoulders, or almost 
dragging their arms from their sockets, as they carried 
it on handspikes, a misstep of one man in the mud would 
bring the whole party, bateau and all, to the ground. 
They would rise, covered with black mud, cursing and 
laughing, and laugh still louder to see the next boat crew 
in a similar plight. 

The glory and enthusiasm of the rights of man was 
heard on every side. They were no coerced soldiery, they 
said, and the officers were given to understand that they 
must know their place and keep it. The men had taken 
charge of the expedition and tolerated the officers as assist- 
ants. They bluntly let it be understood that for any 
officer to attempt compulsion would be fatal, for the men 
were going through to Quebec of themselves. 


Soon they were amazed at the sights they saw. The 
swamps, thickets, and hill-sides were covered with a vast net- 
work of the fallen trees of centuries, through which a man 
could climb and crawl at scarcely a mile an hour. Their 
most violent efforts with the bateaux could move them at 
only about six miles a day. The character of the country 
through which they passed has been greatly changed by 
lumbering operations and fires. The woods are less en- 
cumbered and dense ; there is less water, and the Chau- 
di&re has become a less important stream. 

They saw in the black mud the great hoof-marks of the 
moose. Almost every day they would rouse some of the 
strange, ungainly creatures from their lairs to see them 
disappear with a crash into thickets that seemed impene- 
trable to a squirrel. There seem to have been few if any 
deer; and the riflemen killed scarcely any game. They were 
apparently working so hard with the boats that their 
weapons were seldom ready ; and the necessity of pressing 
forward prevented any delay for hunting. It would have 
required a great deal of hunting and consequent delay to 
kill enough moose to feed a thousand men. 

Aaron Burr, the son of the President of Princeton Col- 
lege, a mere lad, and an adventurous one, accompanied 
the expedition in the capacity of what was called a gentle- 
man volunteer, uncommissioned and unenlisted. He found 
a pretty Indian maiden, Jacataqua, of a romantic disposi- 
tion, whom, with her dog, he persuaded to accompany him 
and help hunt. He took her all the way to Canada, where 
it is supposed the nuns near Quebec befriended her and her 
child that was born there. 

They reached Dead River, which was to connect them 
with the head-waters of the Chaudtere. It was deep, 
black, and stjll ; but they had so few paddles or oars that 
they could take but little advantage of the lack of current, 


and it was too deep for their setting poles. Famine had set 
in; provisions, guns, ammunition, and the money for 
wages had been lost from the leaky, overturning boats. 
Colonel Enos and three companies of musketmen in the 
rear, appalled at the difficulties, had abandoned the expedi- 
tion and returned to Massachusetts. It was the end of 
October, cold and snowing. Torrents of rain had swollen 
the streams, overflowed the shores, and made nearly the 
whole country a black morass. 

To send the sick back with a guard and press on was the 
order agreed upon. Arnold and a small party started 
ahead to reach the Canadian settlements and send back 
provisions. The romance was fading, and even the rights 
of man and equality seemed less glorious. 

They had reached the Chaudifere and decided to abandon 
their boats with the exception of one or two to carry some 
of the crippled and sick who would not give up. It was 
down hill to the St. Lawrence on the rushing ChaudiSre. 
But the river was too swift. The boats narrowly escaped 
being dashed over falls, and all took to the land along the 

The situation had become alarming. Jesting and good 
nature had ceased. When, a rifleman fell headlong in the 
mud no gay voice sang out, " Come here and Pll pick you 
up." Some of them killed and ate a pet dog, flesh, skin, 
and entrails, and then boiled the bones. They dug roots 
out of the half-frozen mud with bleeding hands. They 
boiled and ate their extra moose-skin moccasins. Some six 
hundred men, strung out in a long line by the Chaudi&re, 
a line that reeled, stumbled, and fell, and bent up and 
down over the high wooded hills ; were these the conquerors 
of Quebec? 

Dazed, delirious, half blinded by famine and exhaus- 
tion, they would look back as they ascended a hill to see 


others falling over one another and rolling down the oppo- 
site slope. On the top of the hill they would halt as if 
calculating whether their strength would take them down ; 
and then they would start, falling over logs and stones and 
sending their guns flying into the muddy snow. Then up 
the next slope they would wearily go, pulling themselves 
by any twig and bush that seemed to offer assistance. 

"Every man for himself," was the word now passed 
along the line ; and there were loud protests against it. But- 
stern necessity compelled it. The strong were convinced 
of it, and they stopped their ears as they left a companion 
who had taken his last fall over a log and could rise no 

On November 2 Morrison emptied the bullets out of his 
leather pouch and boiled it ; and soon all of his comrades 
were boiling bullet-pouches. Then the leather breeches 
were cut up. A mere twig across the way would now 
bring the strongest man to the ground. And still it was 
on and on, while from every hill they could see a thou- 
sand more monotonous wooded hill-tops stretching away 
forever and ever like a bad dream, with the rushing Chau- 
dire always winding in and out among them, as if it too 
could never escape. 

The men at the head of the line saw cattle driven 
towards them, and men leading horses with great sacks 
laid across their backs, and they sat down and stared at 
one another as if this was part of the bad dream. But 
it was true ; Arnold had returned from the Canadian settle- 
ments with provisions ; and soon great fires were built and 
the beef and potatoes were cooking, and the men with the 
horses were going back along the line to restore the dying. 
Arnold himself arrived, strong, enthusiastic, and jovial. 
The French Canadians were on their side, he said, and 
would give provisions; and Montgomery had already 


beaten the British in Canada and taken many pris- 

So, after those who would not listen to reason had 
killed themselves with overeating, all that was left of the 
expedition marched down among the French Canadians ; 
and truly those simple-minded people looked with blank 
amazement at the pale ghosts and spectres with muskets 
in their shadowy hands, coming out of the impenetrable 
winter forest to drive the English from the continent. 

They reached the shore of the St. Lawrence at Point 
Levi. The British had removed all the small boats, and 
the Americans saw the strongly fortified Quebec, twelve 
hundred yards away across the water, guarded by armed 
merchantmen and two men-of-war. They caught a little 
midshipman, fifteen years old, who, imprudently venturing 
ashore, was deserted by his boat's crew; and his good- 
natured and plucky refusal to give information amused the 
grim hunters. 

They had set out with 1100 men. Three hundred had 
gone back with Colonel Enos. The sick that returned and 
their guards had been 200. The wolves were gnawing the 
bones of eighty or ninety in the woods. Those who stood 
looking at Quebec half armed and in rags were about 510. 

The expedition had already failed. The dash through 
the Maine wilderness had produced nothing but a tale of 
disaster and some interesting diaries and reminiscences. 
The 1100 men would have been more efficiently used if 
they had been sent with Montgomery by way of Lake 
Champlain. They were now too late to take Quebec by 
surprise, as possibly they might have done earlier. Letters 
sent forward by Arnold, as he supposed to friends, and by 
trusty messengers, had fallen into the hands of Guy Carle- 
ton, the commander of Canada, a capable and energetic 
officer, who was prepared to defend Quebec to the last. 


But Arnold and his men were as hopeful as ever. They 
collected canoes and dugouts from great distances, and on 
the night of November 13, by the skilful still paddling 
of the hunters, they dodged the merchant vessels and men- 
of-war and landed before Quebec on the Plains of Abra- 
ham. Arnold soon after sent to the town a summons of 
surrender, but his flags were fired upon and the summons 
never received. Many of his men believed that they 
could now take the town by assault. But conservative 
counsels prevailed; and they waited to be joined by Mont- 

Meantime, General Carleton, hearing of the danger ihat 
threatened Quebec, abandoned to Montgomery unforti- 
fied Montreal, which it was useless to attempt to hold, 
and escaped by daring and good luck down the St. Law- 
rence. He entered Quebec by water and his forces 
were soon raised to some 1800 men. He felt confident 
of holding Quebec and making it a base from which to 
save Canada. 

Sir Guy Carleton, afterwards Lord Dorchester, was an 
accomplished and rather interesting man. He is said to 
have suggested the Quebec Act ; and probably learned from 
subsequent experience that it was a mistake. He is de- 
scribed as firm, humane, and of the most unvarying cour- 
tesy under all circumstances. He was troubled with no 
Whig principles or doctrines of the rights of man, although 
he had been Wolfe's quartermaster-general. He believed 
in subduing the colonies by the most overwhelming severity 
and force ; but that all rebel prisoners, after a short con- 
finement, should be allowed to return to their homes on 
parole, to be afterwards, if advisable, exchanged. 

Montgomery soon joined Arnold, and they began a 
mild siege of Quebec. They built breastworks of snow 
and poured water on them to freeze them solid, for scarcely 


any earth could be scraped from the frozen soil. Such pro- 
tections were easily shattered by the enemy's cannon ; and 
the American artillery was of such small caliber and so 
ineffective that the women came out on the ramparts of 
Quebec to ridicule it. But the riflemen were very effective. 
Creeping close to the walls and sheltering themselves be- 
hind houses, or any object that presented itself, they dealt 
destruction with their tiny bullets to any incautious soldier 
in the town. 

The addition of Montgomery's troops raised the Ameri- 
can force to about 1200 men, hardly enough to take such a 
stronghold as Quebec. To take it by siege seemed impos- 
sible. An assault must be tried, and they grimly waited 
for their opportunity, while the winter snows fell deeper and 
deeper. The signal finally agreed upon was to come from 
nature, a snow-storm at midnight. 

The evening of December 31, 1775, was an intensely 
cold one ; the men were scattered among the farms and tip- 
pling-houses enjoying themselves and keeping warm. But 
as they started to return to their huts the snow-storm 
began. Soon it was a stinging blast carried horizontally 
along the ground and cutting the face. By two o'clock in 
the morning they were hurrying through it, every man 
holding the lapel of his coat wrapped over the flintr-lock of 
his gun, stumbling and falling in the snow-drifts, Mont- 
gomery, with his aide, McPherson, of Philadelphia, and 
also, it is said, accompanied by Aaron Burr,* led the attack 
on one side of the town, and Arnold on the other. 

Arnold's command was a long column, almost in single 
file, with Daniel Morgan and his Virginians in front and 
the Pennsylvanians closely following. Presently were 
heard the sharp reports of their rifles at the first barrier. 

* Codman, " Arnold's Expedition to Quebec," p. 232 with which 
compare Magazine of American History, vol. zi. p. 294, note. 


The riflemen sent their little bullets through the port-holes 
with such unerring aim that the gunners were killed or 
driven from their posts. Morgan was the first to spring 
upon the barrier and throw himself down among the enemy. 
The rest of the column followed and swept the English 
before them. Those who were not riflemen quickly seized 
the excellent English muskets from the dead and wounded 
in place of their own inferior weapons. Arnold was 
wounded in the leg before the barrier was taken and had to 
be supported back to the American camp. 

The taking of the first barrier let them into the lower 
town, and they rushed through it up a street to another 
barrier, from which the cannon and the muskets of the 
Englishmen were spitting flame through the dim light of 
the driving snow. The riflemen again tried their device 
of shooting carefully into the port-holes, but it failed. The 
cannoneers and musketmen were too well settled at their 
work. Pennsylvanians and Virginians were falling on 
every side. It was strange that they were not all killed, 
for the British had them hemmed within the narrow 
street. As the wounded rolled over into the deep snow 
they quickly died of the intense cold which stiffened their 
limbs into the last frantic or fantastic attitude of their 
death agony. 

There was confused fighting in the streets and houses for 
a long time. Some of the Americans rushed up close 
against the barrier ; they crowded under it in a mass ; the 
cannon could not be sufficiently depressed to reach them, 
and they could inflict instant death on a musketman who 
showed himself at a port-hole. In the lull they called out 
to the English to come out and fight in the open. 

"Come out and buy our rifles," they shouted ; " they are 
for sale cheap." 

The tall, powerful figures of Morgan and Hendricks 


were conspicuous in every part of the fight encouraging 
the men. The stentorian voice of Morgan could be heard 
above all the din. He fought like an ancient knight, a 
Coeur de Lion, killing Englishmen with his own hands, 
and in one of the intervals disguising himself and pene- 
trating far into the town to learn its condition. 

The rear of Arnold's column arrived with scaling-lad- 
ders, which they threw against the barrier. But the neigh- 
boring houses were filled with English, and volleys of 
musketry were poured upon the assailants. They could not 
longer crouch under the barrier or man the ladders. 

The barrier could not be carried, and the Americans 
were ordered into the houses. They battered down the 
doors with butts of guns and rushed up to the windows in 
the full belief that they could shoot all the gunners in the 
barrier. Pennsylvanians and Virginians were aiming 
their rifles through every opening. It was at one of these 
windows that the gallant Hendricks was shot. He stag- 
gered back into the room and fell across a bed in the 

There was now a short time when the Americans, thor- 
oughly convinced of the hopelessness of their task, might 
have drawn out and escaped. Some of them did so, 
especially the few Indians and Canadians who had joined 
them. These hurried down to St. Charles Bay and started 
across the two miles of ice heaped up by the tide and full 
of air-holes deceptively covered by the snow. The rest 
were presently caught in the streets and houses as in a trap. 
General Carleton sent Captain Laws on a sortie out of 
the Palace gate, and he came in behind the Americans in 
the street. 

On the other side of the town Montgomery broke through 
the palisades by the aid of his carpenters, and, rushing in, 
shouted to his men, " Push on, brave boys ; Quebec is ours." 


He was met by the discharge of a cannon from a barrier 
which stretched him and his aide, McPherson, lifeless on the 
snow. It was subsequently learned that the British were 
so demoralized by the onset that they were retreating from 
the barrier, which could easily have been carried and the 
town entered. But 'Colonel Campbell, who succeeded 
Montgomery in command, ordered a retreat. 

The attack on Quebec, whatever may have been its pos- 
sibilities, had failed. It is supposed that about six hun- 
dred, or half the American force, were killed, wounded, or 
prisoners. It was a sad fate for so many of Arnold's 
column to have to surrender after such a gallant struggle, 
and be ridiculed for the piece of paper pinned on their 
hats on which was written "Liberty or Death." Morgan, 
weeping with vexation, at first refused to surrender, and, 
placing his back against a wall, with his drawn sword in 
his hand, defied the enemy to take it from him ; but he 
finally consented to hand it to a priest whom he saw in 
the crowd. 

The officers were confined in what was called the semi- 
nary, and the privates given a less comfortable jail. The 
English, as often happened afterwards, were much amused 
at finding the officers to be men of no social position. " You 
can have no conception," wrote Major Caldwell, "what 
kind of men composed their officers. Of those we took one 
major was a blacksmith, another a hatter ; of their captains, 
there was a butcher, a tanner, a shoemaker, a tavern-keeper, 
etc. ; yet they pretended to be gentlemen." * 

Henry, who was among the prisoners, relates the ex- 
traordinary appearance of the dead whom he saw hauled 
through the streets in carts. They were frozen as stiff as 
marble statues in every imaginable attitude of agony or 
horror. They were tossed into the carts like rigid boards, 
* Codman, " Arnold's Expedition to Quebec, }; p. 265. 


with outstretched arms, pointing fingers, and contorted legs 
and necks. 

Among the privates who were prisoners, those who 
admitted that they had been born in England, Scotland, or 
Ireland were told that they had their choice of enlisting in 
the British army or going to England to be tried for 
treason. Under the advice of their comrades, and in the 
belief that the oath of allegiance under those circumstances 
would not be binding on any conscience, about ninety-five 
of these men enlisted, and took their chances of an oppor- 
tunity to desert. 

Two of them, Conners and Cavanaugh, soon made an 
opportunity for themselves. They walked up to a sentinel 
guarding the edge of the high precipice that surrounded 
part of Quebec, and offered the man a bottle of rum. While 
the sentinel hesitated they wrenched his gun from him, 
knocked him down with the butt of it, and then ran to the 
precipice and leaped over. It was a daring leap, but in 
some respects a safe one, for the snow was drifted twenty 
feet deep at the bottom. They nearly suffocated in the 
drift, but managed to scramble out while the British were 
shooting at them from above. Cannon-balls and grape- 
shot were fired at them as they ran over the snowy roads ; 
but they escaped out into the country where the remains of 
Montgomery's and Arnold's commands still maintained an 
nnconquered and sullen siege of Quebec. 

The privates that remained in the jail planned a most 
ingenious method of escape, which failed by a mere acci- 
dent. Most of them were heavily ironed and looked for- 
ward to a hard fate, from which, however, they were un- 
expectedly released the following summer. Carleton, with 
the greatest kindness, set them all free on parole, and a 
year or so afterwards they were regularly exchanged. This 
treatment was in striking contrast to the cruelty and suffer- 


ing usually inflicted on the patriots in English prisons. It 
released Morgan and saved his health to win the battle of the 
Cowpens. The prisoners were taken in a ship to New 
York Bay, in the summer of 1776 ; and turned loose on the 
Jersey shore at midnight. Morgan threw himself flat on 
the ground and kissed it. They then all ran a race to Eliza- 
beth, where they danced, sang, and gave the Indian war- 
whoop for the rest of the night, 

Arnold clung to his position in the snow before Quebec 
all the rest of the winter, keeping up a feeble and ineffective 
blockade of the old town, which regularly received its most 
important supply, firewood, in spite of all he could do to 
prevent it. In April General Wooster moved up from 
the patriot position at Montreal, superseded Arnold for a 
time, and cannonaded Quebec. But General Burgoyne 
arrived from England with large reinforcements. The 
British marched out of the town and began slowly driving 
the Americans from Canada. They beat them badly at 
the battle of Three Rivers, half-way to Montreal, killing 
and taking prisoners, and scattering hundreds of them in 
the swamps and woods. 

Carleton then issued a remarkable proclamation ad- 
dressed to those dispersed Americans. They were per- 
ishing, he heard, from hunger and cold; "and, lest a 
consciousness of past offences should deter such miser- 
able wretches from receiving that assistance which their 
distressed condition might require/' he promised that, if 
they would surrender, they should be cared for in the hos- 
pitals, and, when restored, should be free to return to the 
rebel colonies. 

This policy was much admired by some of the loyalists, 
who said that if it had been universally carried out by 
all British commanders it would quickly have ended the 
rebellion, because there would soon not have been a rebel 


willing to fight an empire of such generous liberality. 
There was no officer in the British army, it was said, so 
dangerous to the cause of independence as Carleton.* But 
it is not reported that any patriots took advantage of his 
proclamation. Prisoners whom he released, of course, 
spoke highly of him. But the independence movement 
was beyond the reach of kindness and conciliation, as the 
ministry soon discovered. 

Slowly but surely Carleton defeated and hammered out 
of Canada the little patriot army under Arnold. They 
made a good retreat, however, step by step, all that summer 
and autumn of 1776, down the Sorel River and down 
Lake Champlain, where they fought naval battles, until at 
last they stopped in old Fort Ticonderoga. 

It has been supposed that Carleton could have pressed 
on to Albany or even to New York ; but he was content 
with having saved Canada for his government. He 
accomplished more than any other officer in the British 
service, except Clinton. He held open the upper portion 
of the water communication down the Hudson "Valley, 
and in the following year Burgoyne started down by it to 
meet Howe half-way from New York and cut the colonies 
in half. 

In March, 1776, just before Arnold's retreat began, a 
committee, composed of Franklin, Samuel Chase, and 
Charles Carroll, of Maryland, went to Canada to help win 

* Jones, " New York in the Revolution, " vol. i. pp. 89, 90, 133, 181, 
182 ; vol. ii. pp. 469, 470 j Pennsylvania Magazine of History, vol. xx. 
p. 513. Carleton -was never given the command he wanted in the 
rebellious colonies until, the Eevolution being over, he was made Com- 
mander-in-chief and put in charge of the evacuation of New York. 
That vigorous Tory, Lord George Germain, disliked him ; and his 
unwillingness to allow opportunities of corrupt money-making to his 
subordinates may possibly have prevented his advancement. Jones, 
supra, vol. i. pp. 336, 441. 


it to the side of the revolted colonies. John Carroll, a 
Roman Catholic priest, accompanied them in the hope of 
influencing the French Canadian clergy. It was a terrible 
journey for them in the month of March, and nearly cost 
Franklin his life. They found only defeat and disaster 
and large debts contracted by Montgomery's army with 
the Canadians, which could not be paid. The Canadians 
were friendly to the extent of supplying the Revolutionary 
army with food and treating them with kindness. They 
wished us well ; they would accept us if we were successful. 
Many of the English held a neutral position, waiting to 
see what we could do. But there was no strong spirit of 
independence or rebellion among either the French or the 

The French hated Carleton, who held them down by 
martial law, and they hated the British regulars who kicked 
and cufied them; but their temper and character were 
altogether of the submissive kind. They knew little or 
nothing of the rights of man, and were rather shocked by 
them. They could see no proof of their merit in the rough 
followers of Arnold and Montgomery, who brought with 
them a depreciated paper currency and the smallpox. Our 
troops sometimes forced supplies without paying for them, 
even in paper ; and it is probable that many of them, espe- 
cially the New England troops, found it difficult to conceal 
their contempt for the Canadian religion. 

The French Canadian peasantry were possessed of very 
limited intelligence and knowledge. They knew little or 
nothing of the merits of the rebellion to the south of 
them except that it had originated in Boston, and they 
called all the troops Bostonians. They had no training 
in self-will, smuggling, or semi-independence, like their 
southern neighbors. They had not the heart to fight losing 
battles ; and to fight such a power as England seemed to 


them madness. They were altogether lacking in what 
Graydon called revolutionary nerves.* 

Their priests were against us, and refused absolution to 
those who joined the Americans. Our wild hoys finally 
found a priest who absolved rebels for a salary, and the 
promise of a bishopric if we conquered Canada ; but he 
could not, it seems, work fast enough to add a new State to 
the American Union. 

The attack upon Canada as an invasion of British 
territory was a bad failure ; but it was superb in its daring 
and confidence, its possibilities as well as its impossibili- 
ties. If it had been more successful we might have won 
more quickly the alliance of France. Considered in all 
its circumstances, the persistent slowness with which, even 
after defeat, it was abandoned, and its picturesque romance, 
it was the ablest and most striking, the best, as it was the 
first, of all the patriot campaigns. 

It was well, however, that it did not succeed, for the 
Canadians would not willingly have amalgamated with us, 
and the attempt to force them would have been contrary to 
our principles, and would have involved discord, cruelty, 
and suffering. They were, and still are, a naturally sepa- 
rated people, far removed from our way of thinking ; and 
their best career, if they should succeed in separating from 
Great Britain, will be in developing an independent Cana- 
dian nation. 

* " Quebec and the American Kevolution," Bulletin of University 
of "Wisconsin, vol. i. pp. 498, 503, 513 j Pennsylvania Magazine of 
History, vol. rxii. pp. 21, 22, 23 ; Codman, " Arnold's Expedition to 
Quebec, "pp, 8, 296. 




IN October, 1775, when Arnold's expedition was on its 
perilous march through the Maine woods. General Gage 
retired and Howe took supreme command. During that 
same autumn Lord George Germain became colonial 
secretary and the ministry's means of communication with 
the commander in America. The rebellion extended from 
Maine to Georgia, but England, with 10,000 troops cooped 
up in Boston and the possibility of the loss of Canada, 
was not making a very vigorous beginning in the way of 

Such a rebellion could never be suppressed by merely 
holding Boston, which was of no strategic importance. It 
might be held for years while the rebels in the rest of 
the country created an independent nation and became 
self-sustaining. The only way to conquer the rebel country 
was to occupy such portions of it as would effectually 
break up the union of the patriots and prevent intercourse 
among them. This plan, reinforced by a blockade of the 
coast to prevent supplies entering by sea, followed by the 
destruction of any regularly organized armies the patriots 
might form, forcing them to mere guerilla warfare, which 
could be gradually suppressed, was the natural method of 
subjugating America. 

The ministry seem to have had some such plan in mind. 
Their strategy, as it gradually unfolded itself, was first of 
all to occupy New York City, and make that the head- 
quarters of British control. From New York City the 



line of the Hudson valley all the way to Canada must be 
secured, which would immediately isolate New England, 
the hot-bed of sedition, from the other colonies, and cut 
off not merely the interchange of ideas, encouragement, and 
reinforcements of troops, but also the provisions and sup- 
plies which New England drew from the more fertile agri- 
cultural communities to the south. 

In New England itself they finally decided to hold only 
one point, Newport, because it was the most convenient 
harbor south of Halifax for sailing vessels to enter and 
take shelter. They could easily beat into it, in almost any 
wind, while at New York, in addition to the difficulty of 
beating in against head-winds, the water on the bar was 
at that time very shallow and some of the men-of-war 
could not cross it.* 

South of New York the strategic position was the line 
of Chesapeake Bay, with strong positions in Virginia 
and Maryland, as at Alexandria and Annapolis, with, per- 
haps, part of the Susquehanna River. This line, if well 
held, would isolate the middle from the southern colonies 
and stop communication. As for the South, the best 
method of controlling it was found to be by occupying 
Charleston, Georgetown, and two or three points on the 
Santee Kiver in South Carolina. 

It is easy to see that if this strategy had been vigorously 
carried out with a sufficient force, aided by a blockade 
of the coast, there was every probability that the patriot 
party would soon have been driven to mere guerillaism, 
and from that to a retreat beyond the AUeghanies, which 
Burke so eloquently described, and for which Washington 
was prepared. 

* " A Short History of Last Session of Parliament," pp. 18, 19, 
London, 1780j Pennsylvania Magazine of History, vol. xxii. p. 151. 


As the war developed, only part of the British plan 
could be carried out. Newport was held during most of 
the war, as was also New York, until after the treaty of 
peace. But for reasons with which General Howe was 
largely concerned, the vital line up the Hudson to Canada 
could not be secured. The position on Chesapeake Bay 
was not seriously attempted. It would have required a 
larger force than could be spared from more important 
places. General Charles Lee, when a prisoner, recom- 
mended it to Howe, and General Cornwallis was in favor 
of the Virginia part in preference to holding South Caro- 
lina. The South Carolina position was taken towards the 
end of the war and most securely held until broken up, 
and in effect abandoned, by the rather extraordinary con- 
duct of Cornwallis. 

Independently of these strategic positions and theories, 
the important thing, as in all wars, was to break up and 
destroy our armies by defeating them in battle, followed by 
relentless pursuit and by devastating and ruining the coun- 
try from which our armies drew their supplies and moral 
support. This method, for reasons which will be explained, 
was not carried out by the ministry and General Howe 
during the first three years of the war ; and after that, with 
France, Spain, and the whole continent of Europe aiding us, 
it was too late. 

To defend themselves against the British methods 
of attack, the Americans pursued three lines of conduct. 
The first was to prevent the British from securing control 
of the line of the Hudson valley. This was the great 
contention and controlling motive of the first three years 
of the war. The patriots could not prevent the British 
occupying the city of New York, but by holding what 
were called the Highland passes and forts near West Point 
on the Hudson, and by preventing Burgoyne from coming 


down from Canada, they completely balked the accomplish- 
ment of this most important British movement. 

"West Point and the Highland passes constituted the 
most important American strategic position. It was this 
position which Arnold intended to surrender to the British 
so as to end the war at one stroke, retain the colonies for 
the British empire, and save them from falling into the 
hands of France. 

In the last years of the war, after the French alliance, and 
when the British held South Carolina and the city of New 
York, it seemed as though General Clinton, by conducting 
raids from those two positions, might be able to wear out 
the patriot party and suppress the rebellion without hold- 
log the line of the Hudson valley. This was the most 
serious period for the patriots, the time when, even with 
the assistance of France, their cause was almost lost. 

They had the choice either of trying to drive the British 
out of New York or of trying to drive them out of South 
Carolina. In no other way could they break the very ex- 
haustive raids and wearing-out methods which the skill and 
energy of Clinton were inflicting upon them. They aban- 
doned the attack upon New York as too difficult, and 
turned their attention to South Carolina, where at first they 
were disastrously defeated, but soon afterwards were most 
fortunately and unexpectedly aided by Cornwallis's strange 
notion of changing the British position from South Caro- 
lina to Virginia, a movement which brought about his sur- 
render at Yorktown in 1781. 

This brief review of the theory of the war will disclose 
the meaning of the military movements. The ministry 
wanted Howe to abandon Boston that autumn of 1775 
and go at once to Long Island, where he could procure 
provisions in a fertile country, among a loyalist population, 
receive supplies from the sea as easily as at Boston, and be 



ready to take New York when reinforcements should be 
sent to him.* But he refused to do this, because he did 
not think he had sufficient ships to carry him there, and he 
remained inactive in Boston all winter. He was in Amer- 
ica to enforce the acts of Parliament against which he had 
voted, and it was asking a great deal to expect him to 
prove that his own convictions and those of his party were 
at fault, or to expect him to be very actively severe against 
a people with whose cause he sympathized. Moreover, the 
ministry had announced that their policy was to be a com- 
bination of the sword and the olive-branch ; and Howe, 
by reason of his associations and experience in America, 
had been selected as well qualified to carry out this 
method of conciliation. 

The force under Washington at Cambridge, which the 
first enthusiasm raised to 16,000, dwindled down as soon 
as winter came to less than 10,000. For weeks at a time 
the patriots had no powder except what was in their car- 
tridge-boxes. It is difficult to believe that Howe did not 
know of this with all the intercourse through the lines, 
the numerous desertions, the loyalists, and his spies.f 

His large reinforcements, it is true, had not yet arrived ; 
and his army was something less than 10,000. But when 
we consider that he was the most experienced and most 
intelligent officer of Great Britain, and that his personal 
courage was beyond dispute, it is a little extraordinary 
that he made not the slightest attempt to take the aggres- 
sive. He was allowing himself to be shut in by an 
undisciplined force, sometimes equal to his own in numbers, 
sometimes fewer, always wretchedly equipped, and at times 

* Stedman, " American War," edition of 1794, vol. i. p. 190. 

f Carter, "Genuine Detail of the Blockade of Boston, " pp. 8, 14- 

16, 22, 28. The British spy system was very thorough and efficient 

Ford, "Writings of Washington," vol. iii. pp. 319, 413. 


without ammunition. He allowed his enemy's force to be 
disbanded under his eyes and sent to their homes while 
others came to take their places. Washington was amazed. 

"Search the volumes of history through and I much question 
whether a case similar to ours is to he found, namely, to maintain a 
post against the flower of the British troops for six months together, 

without , and then to have one army disbanded and another to 

"be raised within the same distance of a reinforced enemy." Ford, 
" "Writings of Washington," vol. iii. p. 318. 

In January Clinton left Boston with a small force, and, 
sailing southward to the Carolinas, was joined by a larger 
force from England under Sir Peter Parker, accompanied 
by General Cornwallis. On June 28 they made a fruit- 
less attack on Charleston, which was heroically defended 
by the Carolina patriots under Moultrie. 

In Boston that winter General Howe began a romantic 
attachment for a loyalist lady, Mrs. Loring, who accom- 
panied his army through the three years of his campaigning, 
and was often spoken of by the officers as the sultana. 
She encouraged the general in his favorite amusement, for 
she was passionately devoted to cards and capable of losing 
three hundred guineas at a sitting. Her influence secured 
satisfactory arrangements for her husband, who was given 
the office of commissary of prisoners, which was an oppor- 
tunity for making a fortune.* 

Being thus provided with a congenial companion, abun- 
dant leisure for card-playing, and with the war going 
exactly as a good "Whig would wish it to go, it is difficult 

* Jones, "History of the Ee volution in New York," vol. i. pp. 
171, 189, 253, 351; vol. ii. pp. 57, 89, 423; "A Yiew of the Evi- 
dence Relative to the Conduct of the American War under Sir W. 
Howe," p. 77; Appleton's " Cyclopaedia of American Biography," 
vol. iv. p. 28. In Hopkinson's "Battle of the Keys" there was' a 
verse about Mrs. Loring which is often omitted in modern editions. 


to tell how long Howe might have remained in Boston 
were it not for the unkind and possibly impolitic perversity 
of the rebels. 

Dorchester Heights and Nook's Hill commanded Boston 
from the south as effectually as did Bunker Hill and 
Breed's Hill on the north. Howe could have seized and 
fortified Dorchester at any time during those long months ; 
but he would not do it. The farmers could not occupy it 
because they had not enough cannon. They were able, 
however, to collect cannon from all over New England, 
and they dragged down many on sledges during the winter 
all the way from Lake Champlain. 

When they were all collected, Washington, on the night 
of March 4, 1776, began a tremendous cannonading all 
round his lines, to which the British replied. " It's im- 
possible/' says McCurtin, "I could describe the situa- 
tion. This night you could see shells sometimes seven at 
a time in the air, and as to cannon, the continual shaking 
of the earth by cannonading dried up our wells." Under 
cover of this tumult a couple of thousand men with 
wagons, cannon, and bales of hay, made a detour far 
inland behind the hills, where the rumble of the wheels on 
the frozen ground could not be heard, and suddenly 
descended upon Dorchester Heights. The earth was frozen 
so hard that they could not dig entrenchments ; but they 
made breastworks of the bales of hay on Dorchester 
Heights, and some days afterwards took possession of 
Nook's Hill. Howe directed Lord Percy with a force of 
2400 men to attack Dorchester, but a rainstorm coming on, 
the expedition was abandoned, and the Americans remained 
in peaceful and undisturbed possession of their new strong- 

Howe was determined to make not the slightest resist- 
ance. He decided to evacuate Boston without firing a 


shot, and lie made a very peculiar sort of informal agree- 
ment with Washington, that if he would not fire on the 
British they would leave the town without doing it any 
injury.* He withdrew with his army on March 17, 
accompanied by some two thousand loyalists, and sailed 
away to Halifax. 

Another extraordinary circumstance of this evacuation 
was that he did not consider it necessary to follow the usual 
military rule of destroying the ammunition and supplies 
that he was compelled to leave behind ; or to make any 
arrangements to prevent the supply-ships that would soon 
arrive from falling into the hands of the patriots. He 
left as a present to the rebels over two hundred cannon, 
tons of powder and lead, thousands of muskets, and all 
sorts of miscellaneous military stores. From that time 
the favorite toast in the rebel camps was, " General Howe." 
They were not again favored with such profuse assistance 
until some years afterwards, when France began to send 
them supplies. 

To the loyalists and to the Tories in England this seemed 
a strange proceeding ; this going to Halifax and deserting 
the rebel country when he could have gone to Long Island 
or to Staten Island just as well. In the previous Novem- 
ber he had declined to go to Long Island because he had 
not sufficient shipping. But now when he seemed to have 
sufficient shipping, his going to Halifax was almost like 
retreating back to England. What greater encouragement 
could he give to the rebellion without actually taking its 
side? His Whig friends in Parliament were delighted. 
It was another piece of strong evidence to show that the 
war was impracticable ; and the thunders of Whig elo- 
quence again resounded. 

* Prothingham, "Siege of Boston," p. 303; Stevens, "Fac- 
similes," vol. ix. p. 855. 


At this important juncture, when the British army had 
abandoned the rebellious colonies, and the rebellion was 
apparently victorious, with most of the colonial governors 
and British officials driven out of the country or prisoners, 
the patriots in the Congress decided to declare indepen- 
dence. This decision was reached within a couple of 
months. The time of actual debate on it occupied less 
than a month, for it was on June 7 that Richard Henry 
Lee offered his resolutions which formed the basis of the 
declaration of July 4. The first instructions to any set 
of delegates to urge an immediate declaration were given 
on May 22 by Virginia. 

The question of declaring independence, or speaking of 
it openly, was still, as it had always been, purely one of 
policy. In the Congress at Philadelphia, in the spring of 
1776, we find the delegates differing very seriously as to 
the advisability of declaring it so soon. The argument 
against an immediate declaration seems to have been that 
we had not been sufficiently successful in arms ; and noth- 
ing but success in arms would make the declaration respect- 
able. We must wait till we had secured the alliance of 
France. A reverse in battle in our weak state would 
make the declaration seem contemptible and destroy the 
possibility of help from France. We were not yet suffi- 
ciently united, and the declaration would alienate many 
who had not grown accustomed to the thought of complete 

At first the colonies stood seven in favor of an immediate 
declaration, namely, the four New England colonies, 
Virginia, North Carolina, and Georgia. The conservative 
minority, led by Dickinson, was made up of Pennsylvania, 
South Carolina, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, and 
Delaware. It was very important, however, to have a 
unanimous vote, and great exertions were made to have 


the patriot party in every colony instruct its delegates to 
vote for an immediate declaration. 

Previous to July 2, when the final decision was made, 
four colonies were still in opposition. Of these, the vote of 
the Pennsylvania delegation was carried for the Decla- 
ration by Dickinson and Robert Morris absenting them- 
selves. Delaware, whose vote had been evenly divided, 
was brought over by the arrival of Csesar Rodney ; and 
South Carolina was also persuaded. The New York dele- 
gation, being without fresh instructions, declined to vote. 
But the decision was almost unanimous, and on July 4 the 
formal paper prepared by Jefferson and his committee was 

Such men as Dickinson and Robert Morris still held to 
their opinion that the declaration was premature. " It was 
an improper time," said Morris, (f and it will neither pro- 
mote the interest nor redound to the honor of America, for 
it has caused division when we wanted union." 

It seems to have alienated many people who were hesi- 
tating and increased the number of the loyalists. Men like 
Morris and Dickinson could soon point to terrible disasters, 
and the patriot cause sunk almost to its lowest ebb ; and 
the Declaration did not bring us the alliance of France, 
which came at last only as a result of a great patriot victory 
in the field. 

On the other hand, the Declaration gave the real patriots 
a rallying point. It showed their purpose, interested the 
French king, and was a basis for his action when a victory 
convinced him of the advisability of an alliance. It was 
probably well to declare independence as soon as possible 
after what seemed to be our first distinct success, because it 
was a long time before we had another, and we never had one 
which at once put all the British troops out of the country. 

Those who advocated an immediate declaration seem to 


have relied on several circumstances which they thought 
had prepared the minds and sentiments of the patriot 
party. The Congress had recommended the patriot party 
in each colony to abolish their charter or any connection 
they had with England and set up a constitution and an 
American government of their own ; to do, in short ; what 
Massachusetts had already done under the Suffolk resolu- 
tions. This, it was hoped, would commit them more than 
ever to independence, and break up the sentiment which 
attached them to the old order of things. The patriots 
were now at work on these constitutions in all the colonies 
except Connecticut and Rhode Island, which, always hav- 
ing enjoyed practical independence, required no change. 

Two atrocities, as they were called, had been committed 
by the British. Norfolk had been sacked and burned by 
Lord Dunmore, the governor of Virginia, and Portland, in 
Maine, had been shelled and burned by Lieutenant Mowatt 
in revenge for his arrest in the town and interference with 
the crews of British cruisers. These were, in a sense, acci- 
dental, and not part of the plan of either Howe or of the 
ministry ; but they were believed to have won over many 
doubting patriots and to have given them sufficient active 
hatred of England. Cruelty and atrocity by the British 
were supposed to be important in winning over the doubt- 
ful. Lord North and the ministry seem to have had this 
in mind in their olive-branch policy and in their wish to be 
forbearing and moderate. 

"From their form of government and steady attach- 
ment heretofore to royalty," wrote Washington at this 
time of the Virginians, " my countrymen will come reluc- 
tantly into the idea of independence ; but time and perse- 
cution bring wonderful things to pass." * 

* Bancroft, "History of the United States, 7 ' edition of 1884, vol. 
iv. p. 338. 


The Declaration was received very quietly by the people, 
both, patriot and loyalist. There was none of the nourish 
and excitement with which we are familiar on its anniver- 
sary. Mrs. Deborah Logan, sitting at the window of her 
house at the corner of Fifth and Library Streets, in Phila- 
delphia, heard the formal reading of it before what is 
now Independence Hall, and records in her diary that 
few people were present except some of the lower orders. 
Captain Graydon, who was with part of the patriot army, 
tells us that the troops also took the announcement very 
quietly. They regarded it as a wise step, though closing 
the door to accommodation or compromise.* 

"We also find some of the troops expressing their feel- 
ings in words which sum up the whole doctrine of 
independence. " Now/' they said, " we are a people. We 
have a name among the states of the world." f 

*See, also, "Life and Correspondence of President Reed," vol. i. 
p. 195. 

| American Archives, fifth series, vol. i. p. 130. 




WHILE the Congress was debating in June the question 
of independence Howe was on his way back from Halifax. 
He could not stay there indefinitely, because there were 
limits within which he must keep his conciliatory policy, 
and he was about to receive the large reinforcements which 
the ministry had been preparing to send him, and which were 
necessary for an effective occupation of the rebel territory. 

On June 30, two days before the final vote on indepen- 
dence, he arrived at Staten Island, opposite New York. 
On July 12 his brother, Admiral Howe arrived with a 
large fleet and reinforcements. Some twelve thousand Hes- 
sians also arrived, the first of these troops to reach Amer- 
ica. Clinton, returning from his fruitless attack of June 
28 on Charleston, still further increased Howe's forces. 

The whole British force of subjugation was thus con- 
centrated on New York, and it was a huge army to have 
been sent across the Atlantic in those times. Its size has 
been variously stated, sometimes at 26,000 ; but according 
to the best sources of information, without counting the 
sailors and marines in the fleet, Howe had there before 
New York 34,614 men in good health and perfectly armed 
and disciplined. The fleet included fifty-two large war- 
vessels, twenty-seven armed sloops and cutters, and four 
hundred transports.* 

* Beatson, " Naval and Military Memoirs of Great Britain," vol. 
vi. pp. 44, 53 ; Collier, Naval Chronicle, vol. xxxii. p. 269. The 
number 84,000 agrees with the statement of a spy, who reported the 
British force as over 35,000. Force, fifth series, vol. i. pp. 1110, 1531, 
1532; Jones, "Kew York in the Be volution, " vol. i. p. 602. 


The ministry had exerted themselves to the utmost to 
supply such an overwhelming force as would render the 
acceptance of their conciliation and peace policy a cer- 
tainty. The olive branch was twined round a most stu- 
pendous sword. 

But Howe was continually calling for reinforcements, 
and in his " Narrative" he complains that they were not 
sent. During the three years of his command in America 
they sent him, according to Galloway, over 50,000 men, 
and Lord North told Parliament that it was over 60,000,* 
with which to destroy a ragged rebel army that only once 
reached 20,000 and usually varied between 4000 and 

Howe did not at once attack and take New York, which 
he might easily have done while the patriot forces were 
weak and unprepared. He remained on Staten Island 
nearly two months. He and his brother, the admiral, 
were very anxious to conclude some sort of Whig or com- 
promise peace. The admiral had succeeded in obtaining 
from the ministry a qualified authority to make peace ; and 
he seemed to have had much confidence of success, relying 
perhaps on the large and threatening military and naval 
force to compel a compromise without fighting. He sent 
a flag and messengers to Washington, and it was in these 
negotiations that he addressed his letter to George Wash- 
ington, Esq., ignoring his title of General. He had been 
instructed not to recognize the Congress or admit legiti- 
mate authority in any one. For this reason, and because 
Washington had no power to treat with him, the attempt 
came to nothing. The admiral expressed great regret that 
he had not arrived before the adoption of the Declaration 
of Independence, which had now made his mission of peace 
more difficult. 

* Cotoett, "Parliamentary History," vol. six. p. 766. 


As for Admiral Howe's naval operations during his 
command, they were certainly good Whig methods, but 
most exasperating to loyalists like Galloway. In 1776 
the admiral had with him fifty-six war- vessels, and in 
the next year he had eighty-one. He could have placed 
them within sight of one another along the coast from 
Boston to Charleston. But he never attempted any such 
blockade. He maintained a blockade of New York and a 
partial blockade of the Delaware Bay and the Chesapeake. 
But his vessels were easily evaded. American ships and 
small privateers, which preyed on English merchantmen, 
found a safe entrance at Egg Harbor, on the Jersey coast, 
whence, by way of the Mullica River, goods were hauled in 
wagons to Philadelphia and other points. His blockade of 
the Chesapeake was easily avoided in the same way by 
means of the Machipongo Inlet, twenty-five miles above 
Cape Charles ; and in the Carolina Sounds the Americans did 
as they pleased. When asked why he did not commission 
loyalist privateers to destroy American merchantmen, the 
admiral is said to have replied, "Will you never have 
done oppressing these poor people ? Will you never give 
them an opportunity of seeing their error?" He was a 
most ardent believer in conciliation.* 

When his peace negotiations at Staten Island failed 
there was nothing that he and his brother could do but 
take New York and see what efiect that would have in 
bringing about a satisfactory compromise. The town at that 
time extended from the Battery only to Chatham Street,. 
and the point of land on which it stood was much nar- 
rower than it is now. Breastworks and redoubts, planned 

* Galloway, ' < Letter to the Right Honorable Lord Yiscount Howe, " 
London, 1779; Galloway, "Detail and Conduct of the American 
War," third edition, p. 26, etc., London, 1780; Stevens, " Fac- 
similes," vol. xi. p. 1163. 


by General Charles Lee and a couple of committees, had 
been thrown up along the shores of both rivers and cannon 
planted in them. 

How strong these fortifications were cannot be deter- 
mined, for no serious attempt was made upon them by 
Admiral Howe. After the battle of Long Island he seems 
to have entered the East Eiver without any serious oppo- 
sition from them. There is every reason to suppose that 
he could have demolished them and knocked the town to 
pieces with his large fleet. But the policy of the Howes, 
and apparently also of the ministry, was to destroy no 
towns and to do no devastating. 

This brings us to the important question in the conduct 
of the war. How far was the conduct of the Howes a 
carrying out of their own ideas and those of the Whig 
party, as the loyalists charge, and how far was it merely 
obeying the olive-branch instructions of the ministry? 
If umerous declarations of Lord North and the ministry in 
Parliament^ and the testimony before the committee of in- 
quiry, show that the ministry intended some sort of severity, 
coupled with some sort of extreme mildness ; a severity 
which, without great injury, devastation, or cruelty, would, 
as Germain expressed it, lead America to see her error, 
and discover " that she could not be truly happy but when 
connected with some great power." * It has been sup- 
posed that the Howes were placed in command because, 
being Whigs, and having had very friendly associations 
with the Americans, they were well fitted for carrying out 
such a policy. But in the end, Lord North, Lord George 
Germain, and the whole ministry declared that they were 
disappointed in the methods and conduct of the Howes.f 

* Parliamentary Eegister, House of Commons, 17*79, vol. ziii. p. 368. 

f Lord North described the large forces, military and naval, that 

had been sent to the Howes, and said, " That he must confess himself 


The ministry, it seems, had at last, through the Secretary 
for the Colonies, Lord George Germain, written letters to 
the Howes calling for more severity in the conduct of the 
war. Fox read in Parliament extracts from these letters 
which seemed to require that the war should be so con- 
ducted as to convince America of the determination " to 
prosecute it with unremitting severity."* The ministry 
and the Tories seemed to think that these instructions had 
not been obeyed. General Howe, in his defence before the 
committee of inquiry, denied that he had received such 
instructions, and his statement is most interesting and 

"For, sir, although some persons condemn me for having 
endeavoured to conciliate his Majesty's rebellious subjects, by taking 
every means to prevent the destruction of the country, instead of 
irritating them by a contrary mode of proceeding, yet am I, from 
many reasons, satisfied in my own mind that I acted in that particular 
for the benefit of the king's service. Ministers themselves, I am per- 
suaded, did at one time entertain a similar doctrine, and from a 
circumstance not now necessary to dwell upon, it is certain that I 
should have had little reason to hope for support from them, if I had 
been disposed to acts of great severity. Had it been afterwards 
judged good policy to turn the plan of the war into an indiscriminate 
devastation of that country, and had I been thought the proper instru- 
ment for executing such a plan, ministers, I presume, would have 
openly stood forth, and sent clear, explicit orders. Ambiguous mes- 
sages, hints, whispers across the Atlantic, to be avowed or disavowed 
at pleasure, would have been paltry safeguards for the honour and 
conduct of a commander-in-chief. J ' Cobbett, "Parliamentary His- 
tory," vol. xx. pp. 682, 683. 

extremely disappointed in his expectations of the effect of our military 
force. He did not mean at that time to condemn or even to call in 
question the conduct of any of our commanders, but he had been dis- 
appointed." Oobbett, "Parliamentary Debates," vol. xix. p. 766; 
Parliamentary Register, House of Commons, 1779, vol. xiii. pp. 271, 

* Cobbett, "Parliamentary Debates," vol. xx. p. 844 j Parliamen- 
tary Register, House of Commons, 1779, vol. xiii. pp. 360, 357, 358. 



If the suspicion which seems to be in Howe's mind were 
correct, the ministry wished to avoid the responsibility of 
severe devastating measures, because the cruelty of them 
would arouse "Whig eloquence and perhaps increase the 
Whig forces to a majority. If, however, by means of 
expressions, the meaning of which was uncertain and could 
be avowed or disavowed, they could lead Howe, a "Whig 
general, into measures of severity, the blame for cruelty, 
if the measures failed, could be shifted to a Whig, and if 
the severity succeeded in bringing about a peace or com- 
promise, the cruelty would be of little moment or soon 

The instructions or messages which Fox read in Parlia- 
ment, and which Howe said were ambiguous whispers 
across the Atlantic, seem to be contained in two or three 
letters written to Howe by Lord George Germain, the 
colonial secretary. The first one is dated March 3, 1777, 
and was received by Howe on May 8. After regretting 
the loss at Trenton, enjoining care against similar accidents, 
and referring to certain inhuman treatment said to have 
been inflicted by the rebels upon Captain Phillips, the 
letter closes by saying : 

"And here I must observe that if that impudent people, in con- 
tempt of the gracious offers contained in the late proclamation, shall 
persist in overt acts of rebellion, they will so far aggravate their guilt 
as to become altogether unworthy of any further instances of his 
Majesty's compassion ; and as they who insolently refuse to accept the 
mercy of their sovereign cannot, in the eye of impartial reason, have 
the least room to expect clemency at the hand of his subjects, I fear 
that you and Lord Howe will find it necessary to adopt such modes of 
carrying on the war that the rebels may be effectually distressed, so that 
through a lively experience of losses and sufferings they may be brought 
as soon as possible to a proper sense of their duty, and in the mean 
time may be intimidated from oppressing and injuring his Majesty's 
loyal subjects." Parliamentary Register, House of Commons, 1779, 
vol. si. p. 394. 


Bancroft quotes a passage from a letter which he says 
was sent at this time, but follows his custom of giving no 
authority for it. 

1 1 At the expiration of the period limited in your proclamation, it 
will he incumhent upon you to use the powers with which you 
are intrusted in such a manner that those persons who shall have 
shown themselves undeserving of the royal mercy may not escape that 
punishment which is due to their crimes, and which it will "be expe- 
dient to inflict for the sake of example to futurity." Bancroft, " His- 
tory of the United States," edition of 1886, vol. v. p. 146. 

In another letter, written February 18, 1778, and re- 
ceived by Howe April 14, Germain says that the king has 
accepted Howe's resignation, but he is to remain until his 
successor arrives; and the letter goes on to describe the 
serious attempt at peace the ministry was making by send- 
ing out a strong commission for that purpose, and adds 
that the king has full confidence that while Howe remains 
in command he " will lay hold of every opportunity of 
putting an end to the rebellion and inducing a submission 
to legal government." If the rebel colonists obstinately 
refuse the offers of the peace commission, "every means 
will be employed to augment the force ... in the prose- 
cution of the war." At the close of the letter Howe and 
his brother, the admiral, are directed to make such an 
attack upon the New England coast as will destroy the 
rebel privateers and incapacitate the people from fitting 
out others. This expedition against New England Howe 
declined to make, giving as his reason that it was too 
hazardous, because of the fogs, " flatness of the coast," to- 
gether with other very peculiar excuses.* 

* Parliamentary Register, 1779, vol. xi. pp. 462, 466. It is neces- 
sary to warn the reader that owing to the peculiar way in which the 
Parliamentary Register is published, there are often two volumes 
hearing the same numher and distinguishable only hy their dates. 


The contents of these letters have been given somewhat 
at length in order that the reader may judge for himself 
whether they are ambiguous. They do not contain positive 
instructions, and yet they do not appear to have been con- 
sidered ambiguous by Fox and Meredith, who commented 
upon them in Parliament. They showed what the ministry 
wished the general and the admiral to do. They are very 
like numerous other directions and suggestions in the other 
letters from Germain printed in the Parliamentary Reg- 
ister. Howe was not sent out to America under binding 
or positive instructions,* He was sent out, as is usual in 
such cases, with full discretionary power to suppress the 
rebellion ; and at such a great distance the ministry was 
obliged to assume that, as a rule, he was the best judge 
of his surrounding circumstances. As commander-in- 
chief he could take the responsibility of refusing to carry 
out a direction or request of the ministry if he deemed it 
unwise, impracticable, or too hazardous, unless he had 
positive instructions that it was to be carried out at all 
hazards on the responsibility of the ministry alone. He 
knew all the political, military, and other conditions of 
the time, and had assumed responsibility for his actions. 

"While I myself incline to the opinion of Galloway and 
the loyalists that he adroitly stretched the conciliatory 
and olive-branch part of the ministry's policy so as to 
favor the Whig party in England and the patriot party in 
America, and while I think that it is only on this suppo- 
sition that his extraordinary military movements can be 
explained, I do not wish to force this opinion on readers 
who have not had my opportunities of examining the 
evidence, I have endeavored to give the facts and the 

* " Yiew of the Evidence relative to the Conduct of the War," 
etc., p. 112. 


sources of information in such a way that any one, if he 
wishes, can form a contrary opinion, and believe that Howe 
was merely carrying out in letter and in spirit the policy of 
the ministry, or that he was the most extrordinarily stupid 
and ignorant bungler that ever held the position of com- 

The patriot military forces at New York, when General 
Howe first arrived, were only about ten thousand. His 
delay of nearly two months allowed them the opportunity 
to increase this number. Enthusiasm and rumors soon 
had their numbers up to forty-five thousand or fifty 
thousand. It had seemed to both the patriots and their 
Congress that before long they must surely have that 
number. Many expected more. But by the actual returns 
made by "Washington, his forces, all told, were only 20,275. 
Of these the sick were so numerous that those fit for duty 
were only about fourteen thousand. The large sick-list 
was apparently the result of shocking unsanitary condi- 
tions, which for long afterwards were characteristic of the 
patriot camps ; and in winter they were always afflicted 
with the smallpox. Besides disease which was so preva- 
lent among them, they were a most badly armed, undisci- 
plined, disorderly rabble, marauding on the inhabitants 
and committing all kinds of irregularities.* Except a 
few troops, like Smallwood's Marylanders, they were for 
the most part merely a collection of squads of farmers 
and militia bringing with them the guns they had had in 
their houses. 

It was no longer exclusively a New England army. It 
contained numerous troops from the middle and southern 
colonies, and its size may be said to have indicated the 

* De Lancey's note to Jones, " New York in the Revolution, 7 ' vol. 
i. pp. 599-603 j Irving, " Life of "Washington," edition of 1861, vol. 
ii. chap. xxx. p. 283. 


high-water-mark of the rebellion, under the influence of 
the Declaration of Independence, and the belief that a 
great victory had been gained some months before by 
compelling Howe to evacuate Boston. It was the largest 
number of patriots that were collected in one army during 
the whole war. To handle such a disorganized mob so as 
to offer any respectable resistance to Howe's superb army 
was a task requiring qualities of homely, cautious patience 
and judgment which few men besides Washington pos- 
sessed. John Jay, General Charles Lee, and others be- 
lieved that no attempt should be made to hold New York. 
The risk of an overwhelming defeat was too great. In 
fact, the general patriot plan for that summer of 1776 was 
to wear it away with as little loss as possible. 

It was a delicate question to decide, and no doubt a great 
deal could be said in favor of making a present of New 
York to the British without a battle ; allowing them to 
lock themselves up there, and reserving the patriot force 
to check their subsequent expeditions. But "Washington 
seems to have been influenced by a principle of conduct 
on which he frequently acted. He must make some sort 
of resistance to Howe's entering New York if the rebellion 
and its army was to retain any reputation. He also 
wished to delay Howe so that after settling in New York 
he could make but few expeditions into the country before 

Washington was obliged to use nearly half of his 
effective force in the fortifications and in guarding various 
points in the town. The most important place to defend 
was Brooklyn Heights, on the Long Island side of the East 

* Yergennes, who finally brought about the alliance with Prance, 
was much impressed by Washington's willingness to fight against 
heavy odds. Bancroft, History of the United States," edition of 
1886, vol. v. p. 244. 


River, directly opposite New York, and commanding it 
very much as Bunker Hill or Dorchester Heights com- 
manded Boston. If Howe took Brooklyn Heights, he 
had the city. Washington accordingly sent across to these 
heights some eight thousand of his men under Putnam, 
who made rough intrenchments of earth and fallen trees. 

These eight thousand men were, of course, in a trap, for 
if Howe attacked them in front, their chance of escaping 
across the river was doubtful, and he could absolutely 
prevent it by sending the fleet into the river behind them. 
Military critics have commented on this risk, and the only 
answer is that, under all the circumstances, Washington 
thought himself justified in taking the chances rather than 
abandon New York without a blow. 

General Howe proceeded to dispose of the patriots on 
Brooklyn Heights, and he showed the same perfect knowl- 
edge of the ground and of the enemy opposed to him. 
which he afterwards displayed at Brandywine. He also 
showed his skill in winning easily so far as it suited his 
purpose to win. 

He had remained on Staten Island from his arrival on 
the 30th of June until the 22d of August, when he took 
across to Long Island about twenty thousand* of his men, 
a force which was certainly ample for defeating the eight 
thousand Americans on Brooklyn Heights. 

Between Brooklyn Heights and the place where Howe 
had landed on Long Island there was a wooded ridge, 
and a large part of the patriot force, leaving their breast- 
works at Brooklyn Heights, went out on this ridge to 
check the advance of Howe's army. There right was 
commanded by William Alexander, of New Jersey, or 
Lord Sterling, as he was called from a lapsed Scotch title 

* Twenty-four thousand, according to Bancroft, " History of the 
United States," edition of 1886, vol. v.p. 28. 


which he had ineffectually claimed, and their left was 
commanded by Sullivan, of New Hampshire. This move- 
ment in force to the ridge has been criticised as risking too 
much, because the army was not organized or officered, and 
had not the sort of troops necessary for advanced posi- 

Several roads led directly from Howe's position to the 
ridge and to Brooklyn Heights. On the night of 
August 27 he sent nearly half his force by these roads, 
Grant on the left along the shore and Heister with the 
Hessians on the right. Taking the rest of his force under 
his own personal command, Howe, with Clinton and Corn- 
wallis, went by another road far to the eastward, and, 
making a long detour, came upon the American flank 
and rear just as the battle was beginning with the regulars 
and Hessians, who had come by the direct roads. The 
timing of the movement was most exact and successful, 
and the patriots, as usually happened, had no means of 
obtaining information or detecting a movement of this 

Sullivan's division, which had Howe on its flank and 
rear and the Hessians in front, were nearly all killed or 
taken prisoners. Sullivan was taken hiding in a field of 
corn. Alexander's division, composed of Delaware troops 
and Smallwood's famous Marylanders, made a most des- 
perate and heroic stand for four hours against the regulars 
under Grant, and succeeded in escaping back to the fortifi- 
cations at Brooklyn Heights, but with heavy loss in killed 
and prisoners, and Alexander was captured. 

Among the prisoners, Graydon tells us, was one of the 
famous Connecticut cavalrymen armed with a long duck- 
gun, who was compelled to amble about for the amuse- 
ment of the British army. When asked what his duties 

* American Historical Review, vol. i. p. 650. 



had been, lie is said to have replied, " To flank a little and 
carry tidings." 

Clinton, Cornwallis, and Yaughan all urged Howe to 
pursue the rebels at once into their intrenchments, and the 
common soldiers were with difficulty restrained from press- 
ing on. He admitted that the intrenchments might be 
easily taken, but declined to take them in that way. He 
thanked his officers for their zeal and advice, said enough 
had been done for one day, and that the intrenchments 
could be taken by regular approaches with less loss.* 

The battle was a curious one, because it now largely 
depended upon the direction of the wind. It had appar- 
ently been intended to use the men-of-war, and possibly 
send them into the East River behind Brooklyn Heights. 
But the wind was northeast, and after beating against 
it they were compelled to anchor when the tide turned ; 
and only one vessel, the "Roebuck," exchanged shots 
with Red Hook. 

Possibly Howe expected that in making his approaches 
the next day the fleet would co-operate with him, go round 
into East River, and entrap the force at Brooklyn. But 
the wind continued from the northeast, with rain. Wash- 
ington crossed over to Brooklyn Heights, raising the force 
there to possibly ten thousand men. He remained there 
all that day, evidently believing that as long as the wind 
blew northeast he was safe. The next day the wind and 
rain continued, but the British were pushing their ap- 
proaches, and Washington was unwilling to trust to Prov- 

* "Bemarks upon. General Howe's Account of his Proceedings on 
Long Island/' London, 1778; see, also, Howe's "Narrative;" Sted- 
man, "American War/' edition of 1794, vol. i. p. 196, London. 
Clinton, in his MS. notes to Stedman, p. 196, says that Howe may have 
had political reasons for not attacking Brooklyn Heights. Clinton's 
MS. notes are in the Carter-Brown Library, Providence, Bhode Island, 
and a copy of them is in the library of Harvard University. 


idence any longer. He collected boats, and that night, 
although it became bright moonlight, he slipped all his 
men safely across to New York, although, according to 
Stedman, Howe knew of the movement in time to have 
prevented it.* 

Instead of following up his advantage, as a policy of 
severity would require, Howe now remained on Long 
Island for over two weeks. The patriots were aston- 
ished.f "When he finally entered New York he allowed 
the patriot army plenty of opportunity to evacuate the 
town, and made no attempt to hem them in on the nar- 
row island.^ Landing near what is now Thirty-third 
Street, he occupied the high ground between Fifth and 
Sixth Avenues and Thirty-fifth and Thirty-eighth Streets. 
Most of the Americans had escaped northward, but Put- 
nam was still within the town with four thousand men. 
He also escaped northward by the Bloomingdale road, 
passing within sight of the British right wing unmolested, 
while Howe and some of his officers were lunching with 
Mrs. Robert Murray at that part of New York still known 
as Murray Hill. 

Mrs, Murray was a patriot, and, as the pretty story 

*Stedman, "American War," edition of 1794, vol.i. pp. 197, 198, 
London ; Parliamentary Register, 1779, vol. xiii. pp. 55, 315. 

| Jones, in his "History of "New York in the Revolution,' 7 vol. i. 
p. 119, gives a letter which he says was written by General Putnam to 
the governor of Connecticut on September 12: "General Howe is 
either our friend or no general. He had our whole army in his power 
on Long Island, and yet suffered us to escape without the least inter- 
ruption ; not only to escape, hut to bring off our wounded, our stores, 
and our artillery. "We are safe upon York Island, and the panic 
(which was at first universal) is nearly wore off. He is still with his 
army on Long Island his long stay there surprises us all. Had he 
instantly followed up his victory the consequences to the cause of 
liberty must have been dreadful." 

t Clinton's MS. notes to Stedman's "American "War, ' ' vol. i. p. 208. 


goes, invited Howe to lunch for the purpose of delaying 
him and saving Putnam's force ; or, at any rate, her offer 
of lunch and entertainment, as we are solemnly informed 
by historical writers, is supposed to have had that effect. 
But that Howe and the officers with him and all the other 
officers who were not at the lunch were deceived in this 
way is absolutely incredible. There must have been an 
intention to move easily and give the patriots every 
chance. The lunch at the patriot house and the jokes 
that are said to have passed at the table were a part of the 
conciliatory method thus far adopted by the ministry or 
by Howe. They appear to have thought that under this 
method the movement for independence would finally 
collapse ; but under modern British methods Mrs. Murray 
would have been captured and locked up in a reconcen- 
trado camp. 

But why detail all the extraordinary care and pains 
Howe took at this time. Must he do what the Whigs 
had said was impossible, namely, crush the rebellion. Had 
he not instructions from the ministry to be lenient and 
hold out the olive-branch. The peace negotiations were 
renewed by the admiral, and this time he addressed him- 
self directly to the Congress through General Sullivan, 
who had been taken prisoner. The Congress allowed an 
informal committee to meet the admiral on Staten Island, 
where he entertained them at lunch in a rustic bower of 
branches. But as his peace powers extended no farther 
than the issuing of full pardon on return to allegiance and 
obedience, nothing could be accomplished. He afterwards 
issued a proclamation containing vague promises or intima- 
tions that in return for obedience all objectionable acts of 
Parliament would be repealed. As a Whig he undoubt- 
edly intended to accomplish a settlement which would give 
him the reputation of having solved the American problem 


and be very advantageous both to the patriots and to his 
own party in Parliament. He seems to have believed that 
if the ministry had given him proper authority he could 
have settled the question by conversation with the lead- 
ing patriots. He had tried hard to get from the ministry 
sufficient authority for that purpose, and delayed his 
departure from England for two months in the hope of* 
obtaining it* 

After escaping from New York, Washington's army 
went no farther than to the upper end of the island, where, 
at Harlem Heights, along the Harlem River, he fortified 
himself in a strong position. He could be forced from 
that position or entrapped within the narrow strip of land 
on which he was if a British force went round behind him 
to the north. Howe started to entrap him in this way, and 
both Lafayette and Stedman agree in saying that "Washing- 
ton would have remained in the trap had it not been for 
General Charles Lee, who urged him to go out to "White 
Plains, from which it was easier to retreat, f 

Howe confronted him there on October 28 and took 
by storm a small American outpost on Chatterton Hill. 
But he would not attack "Washington's main force, 
although, in the opinion of most people, he had a chance to 
inflict on it irreparable damage.J He admitted in his 
u Narrative" that he could have inflicted some damage, but 
would not tell why he refrained, except to say that he had 

* Bancroft, " History of the United States, " edition of 1886, vol. v. 
pp. 6, 40, 43. A letter from "Widderburn seems to indicate that the 
ministry were suspicious of the admiral's intentions and not altogether 
willing to trust him with peace proposals. Historical MS. Commis- 
sion, 9th Rep., part iii. p. 84. 

f Lafayette, tl Memoirs, " vol. i. p. 49 j Stedman, "American War," 
edition of 1794, vol. i, p. 211. 

J "Observations on the Conduct of Sir William Howe at the White 
Plains, "London, 1779. 



" political reasons and no other for declining to explain," 
and his confidential friend, Cornwallis, when questioned 
before the committee of inquiry, made the same enigmatical 
statement. "We are therefore left to the inference that he 
was either trying to bring about a compromise by lack of 
severity or that he was determined to stop just short of 
crushing the rebellion and prove the Whig position that 
the rebellion was unconquerable. 

The patriots still held Fort Washington, on the Hudson, 
two and a half miles below King's Bridge. Washington 
was in favor of abandoning it, but between the bungling 
of the Congress and General Greene it was retained and 

It was not really a fort, but an open earthwork with- 
out a ditch or outside obstruction of any consequence, and 
with high ground in its rear. It had no barracks, case- 
mates, fuel, or water. The troops that were supposed to 
be holding it found that they could protect themselves 
better by remaining outside of it. But it was decided to 
retain it against the British for the sake of inspiriting the 
patriot cause, and the New Englanders, Graydon complains, 
were quite willing to see the Southern troops, some 3000 
Pennsylvania^ and Marylanders, sacrificed in the attempt. 

There was desultory fighting round them for many days, 
and Graydon's descriptions are interesting. There was the 
patriot lad of eighteen who killed a regular and brought in 
his shining, beautiful arms, such a contrast to the brown 
and battered American weapons ; and those shining arms 
were with much ceremony formally presented to the boy 
at evening parade. There was the sergeant who killed a 
British officer, stripped him of his uniform, and wore it 
like a glittering peacock in the patriot camp. Graydon 
describes the British soldiers as absurdly bad marksmen. 
They threw up their guns with a jerking motion and pulled 


the trigger the instant the gun reached the shoulder. Ten 
of them fired at him within forty yards and missed him. 

Fort Washington was practically within Howe's lines. 
He took it because it was almost thrust upon him, and he 
had also the advantage of one of its garrison deserting and 
revealing all its approaches. So he plucked the ripe plum, 
almost ready to drop into his lap, with trifling loss on 
either side, and had another large batch of ragged prisoners 
for the amusement of his officers. 

Graydon, who was one of them, gives most vivid 
descriptions of the scenes. They were threatened with the 
butts of guns, reminded that they would be hung, and, 
cursing them for " damned rebels," mock orders were given 
to kill prisoners. The patriots had any sort of clothes and 
accoutrements they could get, and some of their equipments 
had once been the property of the British government. 
Graydon had a belt with the British army marks G. K. 
stamped upon it ; and as soon as this was recognized it was 
wrenched from him with violence. 

The officers surrounded them in crowds, and were as 
much amused as they had been in Canada at the inferior 
social condition of the patriot captains and lieutenants. 
As the names were written down there were shouts of 
laughter at each tattered farmer who announced that he 
was a captain, or " keppun," as one of them pronounced it. 
Young officers, insolent young puppies, anxious to show 
that they were soldiers, were continually coming up to 
curse the captives in affected Billingsgate, and to parade 
them over and over again under the pretence of looking 
for deserters. 

Fort Lee, on the other side of the Hudson, was unten- 
able, and the rebels abandoned it as they should have 
abandoned the so-called Fort Washington. It was a 
terrible clearing-out and wiping-up for the supporters of 


independence. In spite of all his restraint, Howe was 
accomplishing more than he intended. The great size of 
his army and the two battles it fought at Long Island and 
Fort Washington so demoralized the patriots that their 
force was cut in half and was melting away. Lee was on 
the east side of the Hudson, with 7000, soon reduced by 
desertions to 4000. He refused, though repeatedly re- 
quested, to join Washington, who, having retreated into 
New Jersey, was now falling back towards the Delaware. 

Washington wished to keep himself between Howe and 
Philadelphia, which every one now supposed would be 
taken by the British. Washington, however, could not have 
ofiered any real resistance to a movement against Philadel- 
phia, because as he kept retreating his force dwindled until, 
when he crossed the Delaware, he had only 3300 men. 

This retreat through New Jersey brought another storm 
of abuse upon Howe from the loyalists and Tories. They 
could not understand why Washington and his handful of 
men were not all captured or destroyed long before they 
reached Trenton. 

Cornwallis, who was a Whig member of Parliament and 
Howe's most trusted and confidential officer, had been 
sent into New Jersey with 5000 men, apparently to 
capture Washington. But although Washington moved 
slowly Cornwallis never came up with him. A Hessian 
officer entered in his diary that Cornwallis had been in- 
structed to follow until the patriots should make a stand, 
and then not to molest them,* Comwallis admitted before 

* Pennsylvania Magazine of History, vol. xxii. p. 149; u A View 
of the Evidence Relative to the Conduct of the War," etc., p. 98. 
Galloway, of course, has much to say on this subject. See, also, 
Paine's "Crisis," No. 5; Bancroft, "History of the United States," 
edition of 1886, vol. v. pp. 92, 93 ; Stryker, " Battles of Trenton and 
Princeton," pp. 16, 327. 


the committee of inquiry that Howe had instructed him to 
stop at New Brunswick. He could, he said, have disre- 
garded this order ; but saw no opportunity to pursue, and 
his troops were too tired. Ttey must have been very 
tired, for, reaching New Brunswick December 1, they did 
not reach Trenton until December 7. They rested seven- 
teen hours in Princeton, and took seven hours to march 
the twelve miles from there to Trenton, where Washington 
crossed the river just ahead of them, taking all the boats. 

Howe, with reinforcements, had joined Cornwallis at 
New Brunswick, and went with him to Trenton so as to 
make sure of careful work ; and le certainly succeeded in 
securing as much slowness and oaution as though Wash- 
ington had outnumbered him "ten to one. Philadelphia 
could easily have been taken and occupied by the over- 
whelming numbers of the Brifeh ; but Howe would not 
do it. He said he had no boats with which to cross the 
Delaware, when the lumber to make boats and rafts was 
lying in piles before his eyes foi Trenton.* 

The situation expressed in figures is the most extraor- 
dinary one ever recorded, a rlfitorious army of 34,000 
declining to end a rebellion represented by only 3300 wan- 
dering, half-armed guerillas. No great nation, no general 
representing a great nation, hascrer before or since accom- 
plished such a feat as that. Fox I is victory at Long Island, 
however, the king now made Howe a knight companion in 
the Order of the Bath. 

He had done so much, in spiie of himself, in spite of 
his obvious desire to nurse the rebellion for the sake of 
"Whig politics, that he had almost; crushed it. One vigorous 
pursuit, one following up of a,ny one of his advantages, 
any of the usual methods of war, might have been an over- 

* Stryker, " Battles of Trenton and Princeton, " pp. 27, 37 j Jones, 
"History of Hew York in the Revolution," vol. i. p. 128, 


whelming disaster to the patriots. The loyalists awaited im- 
patiently the blow that would give them their country again 
under the orderly government of the British empire. 

The patriots had now no army ; only wandering, scat- 
tered commands. Their Congress had fled from Philadel- 
phia to Baltimore ; it was a migrating Congress, carrying 
its little printing-press and papers about the country in a 
wagon, meeting at Lancaster, York, or any place that was 
safe, for many a day afterwards ; aud Washington prepared 
to retire to the west as a guerilla marauder. 

{ c "We must then retire to Augusta County in Virginia, lumbers 
will repair to us for safety, and we will try a predatory war. If 
overpowered, we must cross the Alleghany Mountains." Irving, 
u Washington," vol. ii. chap. xli. 

Thus the romantic retirement of the patriots to live 
among the Indians and the buffalo, which Burke had so 
eloquently described, very nearly came to pass. It would 
have been a migration away from British rule very much 
like the grand trek of the Boers of South Africa in the 
next century ; and some fierce and free republics might 
have grown up in the Mississippi Valley. 

Among the supposed disasters of the patriots was the 
capture of General Charles Lee, after he had crossed the 
Hudson into New Jersey. He had been a British officer, 
but joined the patriot side apparently from belief in Whig 
principles. He was one of those curious Englishmen who 
down to our day have been able to impose themselves on 
Americans. He talked in a striking, clever manner, with 
a shrewd affectation of great knowledge of the world and 
high society, which is a form of humbug that our people 
have always been very slow to detect. He gained some of 
the credit, which properly belonged to Moultrie, for having 
defended Charleston ; he had assisted in preparing the de- 



fences round New York ; and was believed to have ren- 
dered most valuable assistance to the patriot cause by ad- 
vising Washington to move from the Harlem River to 
"White Plains. These services secured for him a continu- 
ance of American confidence, and the two dogs which 
always accompanied him helped to keep up his eccentric 
and conspicuous character. He had been thirty-two years 
in the British army, the last twelve on half-pay, and had 
never had command of a regiment. His chief military 
service had consisted in wandering about among the courts 
and armies of Europe, where he talked himself into noto- 
riety, and was given a generalship in Poland. 

He despised American soldiers and had no confidence in 
their ability to withstand British regulars. So far as he 
had any convictions, they seem to have been half loyalist, 
somewhat like those held by Arnold. He did not believe 
in the Declaration of Independence, or believed in it only 
as something to cede as the price of a compromise. Arnold 
was retained in our service for his undoubted ability, and 
Lee for his imaginary genius. Lee was a most absurdly 
incompetent soldier to be given high rank, and yet we 
made him a general next in rank to Washington, who was 
completely deceived by him, and had faith in him up to 
the battle of Monmouth. 




HOWE had gone so far in his plans as to conquer New 
York and New Jersey, and thousands of people who had 
been hesitating now came in and took the British oath of 
allegiance. They had been for the rebellion if it should 
succeed ; but they could now see nothing but fotile wicked- 
ness in prolonging such a struggle and the sacrifice of life 
and property to the patriotic sentiment that it was better 
to die than to live political slaves. 

It seems probable that Howe expected some sort of 
voluntary peace or compromise which would show that the 
colonies could be retained without subjugation, as Burke 
and Chatham supposed was possible. His successes, as 
he afterwards put it in his " Narrative," " had very nearly 
induced a general submission/* 

But to loyalists like Galloway the waiting for peace 
seemed to give the rebels a chance to recuperate. It 
seemed as if Howe purposely refused to move again until 
Washington had a sufficient number of men to meet him. 
Months passed away before Washington was able to collect 
ten thousand men, and nearly a year after, and as late as 
September, 1777, he had only eleven thousand with which 
to fight the battle of the Brandy wine. He never again got 
together as many as he had had at New York. 

Settled down in New York with Mrs. Loring and cards 
for the winter, Howe made no effort to wear out the 
scattered patriot commands or to complete and make per- 
manent his conquest. He never did anything in winter. 
The three winters he spent in repressing the rebellion 


were passed in great luxury in the three principal cities, 
Boston, New York, and Philadelphia, waiting for a volun- 
tary peace. It would have been Charleston's turn next. 

Before settling down in New York he sent, on Decem- 
ber 8, some six thousand troops to occupy Newport, Rhode 
Island. His great army of nearly thirty thousand was larger 
than the population of New York, and filled the houses, 
churches, and public buildings, crowding out alike both the 
loyalist and the rebel, spreading out into the suburbs and 
cutting down the woodlands for miles in every direction to 
supply fuel. Fine old mansions, and the neat, pretty houses 
of the thrifty, where domestic morals had prevailed, were 
filled with trulls, doxeys, little misses, dulcineas, and all 
the other female followers of the armies in that age. 

Before returning from Trenton, on December 13, he 
adopted a plan for keeping possession of his great conquest 
of New Jersey. He placed a cantonment of troops at 
Amboy, near New York, one at New Brunswick, another at 
Princeton, and two cantonments of fifteen hundred Hessians 
each at Trenton and Bordentown on the Delaware. The 
cantonments at Trenton and Bordentown were six miles 
apart ; Trenton was twelve miles from the small force at 
Princeton, and New Brunswick eighteen miles from Prince- 
ton. Such weak outposts as Trenton and Bordentown, so 
far away from support and from the main army in New 
York on the other side of the Hudson, were tempting ob- 
jects of attack, and Washington prepared to destroy them.* 

The Hessians at Trenton were under the command of 
Colonel Rail, who was drunk most of the time, could 
speak no English, had no fortifications for his men, and 

* Cornwallis said in Ms testimony before the committee of inquiry 
that he had advised placing the outposts at Trenton and Bordentown, 
and Howe admitted to Clinton that they were too far away. Clinton's 
MS. notes to Stedman's "American "War," vol. i. p. 224. 



allowed them to plunder and disaffect the inhabitants.* 
The fifteen hundred Hessians at Bordentown were under 
Count Donop, and seem to have been intended to cover the 
neighboring town of Burlington* 

"Washington collected the remains of Lee's force, which, 
together with, his own and some sent down from Lake 
Champlain, gave him six thousand men, which represented 
all there was left of fighting enthusiasm in the patriot popu- 
lation. It was only by the greatest persuasion that he 
kept this small force together, for the enlistments of many 
of them were expiring. Artists and sculptors represent 
these troops as dressed in handsome uniforms. But those 
who saw them agree in describing them as dressed in 
ragged summer clothes, with their shoes so worn that the 
frozen roads cut their bare feet. Their camps along the 
Delaware were filled with loyalists and spies, for most of 
the people in that region were lukewarm or hostile, had 
given up the rebellion as hopeless, and thought that the 
best plan was to make some sort of peace with Howe. 

Washington divided his force into three divisions, which 
were to cross the Delaware through the floating ice at 
about the same time. One under Cadwalader was to go 
against Donop at Bordentown, another under Ewing was 
to cross directly in front of Trenton, and the third, of 
2500 men, which Washington himself commanded, was to 
cross above Trenton. 

Crossing the Delaware through the floating ice was cold 
and unpleasant but not dangerous work. If the ice was 
floating loosely the passage could be made, but if the pieces 

* Heister, when asked why tie intrusted the brigade at Trenton to 
such a drunken fellow as Kail, is said to have replied, "Sir, if you 
will tell me why you did not make an end of the war at "White Plains, 
I will then give you an answer." " Observations on the Conduct of 
Sir William Howe at the "White Plains, " p. 19, London, 1779. See, 
also, Pennsylvania Magazine of History, vol. xxii. p. 462. 


were closely packed together by the tide, boats could not 
be forced through them. Where Washington himself 
crossed, above the influence of the tide, the ice appears to 
have been floating loosely. It was Christmas night, cold, 
and at eleven o'clock a northeast snow-storm began, which 
became sleet before morning. It was severe exposure for 
patriots with ragged summer clothes and worn-out shoes ; 
but the darkness, the storm, and the Christmas carousing 
of the Hessians were well suited to Washington's purpose. 
He marched quietly down upon Trenton, where the drunken 
Rail, though warned through the numerous loyalists and 
spies of the intended attack, allowed himself to be taken 
by surprise, was mortally wounded, and most of his men 
were made prisoners. 

The other divisions seem to have found the ice jammed 
by the tide, for they failed to cross that night. But the 
next day Cadwalader crossed at Burlington, to find that 
Donop had retreated. The Hessian prisoners were sent to 
Philadelphia to be paraded in triumph. It was a great 
success, and the first event which impressed upon Europeans 
the ability of Washington to seize an opportunity. 

Washington immediately fell back to the Pennsylvania 
side of the river, but finding no vigorous movement made 
from New York, he recrossed and again occupied Trenton. 
The appearance, however, of Cornwallis with 8000 men 
compelled him to abandon Trenton and cross a creek im- 
mediately south of the town, where he encamped for the 
night. Cornwallis might have shut him in against the 
Delaware and the creek and captured him; but he post- 
poned this until the next morning. It was a narrow escape 
for Washington, and, as Clinton remarked, rather extraor- 
dinary conduct on the part of Cornwallis.* 

* Stryker, " Battles of Trenton and Princeton," pp. 268, 461, 464 j 
Clinton's MS. notes to Stedman's " American War/' vol. i. p. 236. 


During the night Washington left his camp-fires burn- 
ing and men working noisily on intrenchments, and with 
the rest of his little force, passing out through the way 
Cornwallis had left unguarded, performed the brilliant 
manoeuvre of marching to the rear of that general towards 
New York. He had made up his mind that he could pene- 
trate into the interior of New Jersey, and attack Princeton 
and possibly New Brunswick without any interference from 
Howe. The men who now followed him were compara- 
tively few, and not supported by the surrounding popula- 
tion, but they were the enthusiasts of the rights of man, 
the desperate and determined element of the patriot party ; 
and the roads to Princeton were marked with blood from 
their naked, frost-bitten feet.* 

He reached Princeton about daybreak, where three regi- 
ments of British reinforcements were starting out to join 
Cornwallis at Trenton. One of them, under Colonel 
Mawhood, followed by part of another regiment, passed out 
of Princeton on Washington's left as he entered by another 
road. Seeing the Americans enter the village, Mawhood 
turned back and attacked Mercer's brigade. Mercer was 
mortally wounded, and the brigade in danger of retreat- 
ing, when Washington rode to its head and led the men to 
within thirty yards of Mawhood's regiment, which was 
repulsed, and went on to join Cornwallis at Trenton. The 
other regiment and a half fought for a while in the streets 
of Princeton, but were compelled by the superior numbers 
of the Americans to retreat to New York. 

The battle of Princeton was a small affair. The en- 
gagement with Mawhood is said to have lasted hardly 
twenty minutes ; and the troops engaged in that affair and 
in the fighting in the streets of Princeton were only about 

* Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, vol. xs. p. 


2000 British against some 4000 or 5000 Americans. But, 
coupled with Trenton as part of a sudden success in the midst 
of overwhelming defeat, it aroused great rejoicing among the 
friends of the patriots in Europe, and deserves all that has 
been said of it. It was brilliant work on the part of Wash- 
ington, in a time of utter hopelessness, when the belief was 
becoming general that the only safe place for the patriot 
party was on the other side of the Alleghany Mountains. 

Howe, with his army of 28,000, now quietly allowed 
Washington to reconquer New Jersey with 5000. After 
the battle at Princeton Cornwallis abandoned Trenton, 
Bordentown, and Princeton, removed all the British troops 
from them, and quietly returned to New Brunswick. 
"Washington found that there would be too much risk in 
attacking New Brunswick immediately after Princeton, so 
he passed on northward into the heart of New Jersey, and 
took up a strong position at Morristown Heights, west 
of New York, and h^lf-way between New York and 
the Delaware. Putnam came from Philadelphia with a 
few troops and occupied Princeton, and Heath had a few 
more on the Hudson. In other words, Washington, with 
scarcely 10,000 men, made a line of cantonments through 
New Jersey and held it without opposition from Howe's 
28,000 all that winter and the following spring until June, 

He was constantly picking off stragglers from the Brit- 
ish posts at New Brunswick and Amboy, and, as Galloway 
remarked, killed more regulars in that way than Howe 
would have lost by surrounding and defeating or starving 
him out at Morristown. In March Washington's force 
had sunk to less than 3000 effectives, and yet he remained 
undisturbed by the vast force in New York.* 

* Bancroft, " History of the United States," edition of 1886, vol. v. 
p. 148. 


Washington had taken Howe's measure. For the rest 
of the British general's year and a half in America, the 
patriot general, no matter how low his force dwindled, 
always remained encamped within a few miles of the vast 
host of his Whig antagonist undisturbed and unpursued. 
There was no need of retreating among the Indians and 
the buffalo of the West. 

When we think of the measures of relentless severity 
and slaughter, the persistent and steady hunting down of 
the men, the concentration camps for the gradual destruc- 
tion of the women and children, which we have known 
England use in our time to destroy all hope of indepen- 
dence, the extraordinary conduct of Howe is difficult to 
explain except by the method which his loyalist critics 

That was a marvellous winter in New York with a gor- 
geously caparisoned army far outnumbering the population 
of the town, and crowding the poor, devoted loyalists out 
of their houses. Judge Jones was there, and he has left 
us a graphic and indignant description of what happened 
in this and the following year. 

The commissaries, quartermasters, barrack-masters, en- 
gineers, and their assistants and followers, were making 
prodigious fortunes by the most wholesale fraud. The 
loyalists about New York had supplied the invading army 
with horses and wagons in the campaign of 1776, and were 
cheated out of their payment. In the campaign of 1777 
they again supplied the horses and wagons, and were again 
defrauded. The quartermaster, Judge Jones says, netted 
for himself 150,000 out of that campaign and retired to 
England a rich man. His successor made another fortune. 
During the seven years of the war, four quartermasters in 
succession returned with fortunes varying from 150,000 
to 200,000. These were enormous sums in those times, 


fully the equivalent of three million dollars in our own 
day. The fifth quartermaster was stopped half-way on 
his road to a fortune by the arrival of Sir Guy Carleton to 
take command in 1782. 

Howe's favorite engineer received for merely levelling 
the rebel fortifications about New York a fortune, with 
which he retired and bought a town house and a country- 
seat. His successor was given greater opportunities. The 
barrack-masters seized private houses, public buildings, and 
churches, for which, of course, they paid nothing, and 
rented them to the army. They cut down the oak and 
hickory forests all round New York and for sixty miles 
along the Sound, selling two-thirds of a cord to the 
army at the price of a cord, sixteen to twenty-eight shil- 
lings, and selling the fraudulently reserved third to the 
loyalists at 4 and 5 for two-thirds of a cord. Like the 
quartermasters and engineers, they too became nabobs of 
the West. And then there were commissaries of forage, 
commissaries of cattle, and commissaries of artillery, not 
to mention the commissaries of prisoners, together with 
all their dependents, male and female, who enjoyed a 
perfect carnival of plunder and wealth.* 

* Jones, "New York in the Revolution," vol. i. chap. xvi. ; 
"Thoughts on the Present War," etc., p. 51, 1783 j Stedman, " Amer- 
ican War, "vol. i. p. 311, London, 1794 j Stevens, Fac-similes of 
MBS.,"Tol. vii. p. 707. 




THE necessity Howe felt of going through the form of 
a little fighting before autumn caused a break in the gayeties 
in New York. The important strategic line up the Hud- 
son to Canada had now for some time been controlled at 
both ends by the British. The ministry decided to con- 
trol the whole length of it during this summer of 1777, 
and to that end had arranged that a force coming down, 
from Canada should meet at Albany a force from Howe 
coming up from New York. 

As the plan was worked out, two expeditions were to 
come from Canada ; one under Burgoyne was to come 
straight down by way of Lake Champlain, and a smaller 
force under St. Leger was to go up the St. Lawrence to 
Lake Ontario as far as Oswego, capture Fort Stanwix, and 
sweep down the Mohawk Valley to reinforce Burgoyne at 
Albany. New York at that time was settled only along 
the lines of the Hudson and Mohawk Valleys, so that these 
two expeditions, reinforced by Howe from below, would 
be a complete conquest of New York. The plan also in- 
cluded an attack upon the coast of New England to pre- 
vent the militia and minute-men of that part of the 
country from being massed against Burgoyne as he came 
down from Canada. 

Howe had full information as to this plan, professed to 
approve of it, and, in his letter to the colonial secretary of 
October 9, 1775, spoke of it as "the primary object." It 
was obviously necessary and vital that he should play his 
part in it with vigor, or there would be a woful disaster to 


the British arms and great encouragement to the rebellion, 
as well as encouragement to France to ally herself with the 
rebels. In a letter to the ministry of November 30, 1776, 
he shows how he will carry out his part of the plans by 
sending 10,000 men to attack New England, 10,000 to go 
up the Hudson to Albany, and 8000 to make a diversion 
towards Philadelphia.* This plan he gradually changed 
until nothing of It was left but the movement to Philadel- 
phia. His reason for this change was that the ministry 
would not send him the reinforcements for which he asked. 
But this was hardly a sufficient excuse for refusing to send 
any assistance to Burgoyne. On April 5, 1777, he wrote 
to Carleton in Canada that he would not assist Burgoyne, 
because it would be inconsistent with other operations on 
which he had determined ; that he would be in Pennsyl- 
vania when Burgoyne was advancing on Albany, and Bur- 
goyne must take care of himself as best he could.f 

A copy of this letter to Carleton was sent by Howe to 
the ministry, and about a month afterwards the ministry 
sent to Carleton instructions for sending Burgoyne to Al- 
bany, and directed that Burgoyne and St. Leger should 
communicate with Howe and receive instructions from 
him ; that until they received instructions from him they 
should act as exigencies might require; "but that in so 
doing they must never lose sight of their intended junction 
with Sir William Howe as their principal object." J 

A copy of these instructions from the ministry to Carle- 
ton was sent to Howe for his guidance, and received by 
him July 5, so that as com mander-in-chief with discretion- 
ary power he was made aware of the whole situation, knew 
the wishes and plans of the ministry, and on him was placed 

* Parliamentary Register, House of Commons, 1779, vol. xi. pp. 
261, 362. 
t Ibid., p. 389. f Ibid., p . 404. 


the responsibility of effecting or not effecting a junction 
with Burgoyne.* 

In accordance with the instructions from the ministry, 
Burgoyne before starting from England wrote to Howe, 
wrote to him again from Quebec, and again on July 2, 
when on his way down Lake Champlain, informing him 
of the nature of his expedition, that he was under orders 
to effect a junction, and that he expected support from the 
South. The letter of July 2 Howe received July 15.f 

In order that discretionary power and responsibility 
might be entirely cast upon Howe, Lord George Germain 
wrote to him, May 18, saying that the copy of Howe's 
letter to Carleton changing the plan of a junction with 
Burgoyne had been received, and adding : 

" As you must, from your situation and military skill, be a compe- 
tent judge of the propriety of every plan, his Majesty does not hesitate 
to approve the alterations which you propose ; trusting, however, that 
whatever you may meditate, it will be executed in time for you to co- 
operate with the army ordered to proceed from Canada, and put itself 
under your command." Parliamentary Register, House of Com- 
mons, p. 416. 

This letter was received by Howe August 16, and on 
August 30 he replied to it, saying that he would not be 
able to co-operate with Burgoyne. J The correspondence 
was now closed ; and this brief review of it may be of as- 
sistance in understanding the events which are to be related. 

Carleton was much disappointed in not receiving com- 
mand of the invasion from Canada, and asked to be re- 
called. But he was retained in Canada, which he had so 

* Parliamentary Register, House of Commons, 1779, vol xi pp 
405, 407. 

fCobbett, "Parliamentary History, " vol. xx. pp. 786, 788, 798; 
Parliamentary Register, House of Commons, 1779, vol. xiii. pp. 92. 
93, 127-129. 

J Parliamentary Register, House of Commons, p. 418. 


successfully defended, and directed to send out Burgoyne 
and St. Leger. On the 17th of June Burgoyne started and 
began to fight his way down the rivers and lakes towards 
Albany. For some days before that time Howe had begun 
to manoeuvre about New York in a way to make it appear 
uncertain what he would do. At first it seemed as if he 
intended to march 18 3 000 of his men straight through New 
Jersey to Philadelphia. He had them carried across the 
Hudson, and they were provided with boats and rafts ap- 
parently for the purpose of crossing the Delaware. Wash- 
ington immediately placed himself in a position about ten 
miles from New Brunswick and close to what was, appar- 
ently, Howe's intended line of march. 

Washington had about 6000 men, with 2000 more at 
Princeton, but Howe with 18,000 never attempted to 
attack or capture the 6000 patriots, although they were 
there almost alongside of him for over two weeks while he 
manoeuvred about, leaving his boats at New Brunswick and 
marching as if to go to the Delaware without them, and 
then coming back again. He could surely have defeated 
the 6000 patriots at this time as easily as he defeated 
11,000 three months later at Brandywine. If they were in 
a strong position in the hills, their numbers were so small 
that he could have gone behind them or surrounded them.* 
His explanation in his defence before Parliament was that 
he was trying to bring "Washington to a general engagement. 
But he must have known that to do that he must attack 
Washington as he had done at Long Island, and as he 
did three months afterwards at Brandywine. Washington, 
with 6000 men, was surely not going to be foolish enough 
to attack Howe, with 18,000. Nor could Washington's 

* Galloway, "Letter to a Nobleman," etc., p. 62; "Bemarks on 
General Burgoyne's State of the Expedition from Canada, 1 'p. 39, 
London, 1780 j Stedman, "American War," p. 288. 


6000 prevent Howe's 18,000 from going to Philadelphia; 
and many believed that Howe now had his best opportu- 
nity of forcing his way up the Hudson to meet Burgoyne. 

After this two weeks' fooling in New Jersey Howe, on 
the last day of June, withdrew his army from that prov- 
ince and began putting it on board the transports. Then 
his manoeuvres began to indicate that he was going up 
the Hudson or round into Long Island Sound to New 
England. Washington was sure he must intend to assist 
Burgoyne. It seemed impossible to think otherwise ; im- 
possible to suppose that his uncertain movements were 
anything but feints to cover his real design of effectually 
co-operating with the army from Canada. But finally, 
after all his manoeuvring, Howe took his force out to sea. 
Clinton was left in command of New York with the rest 
of the British army, consisting of about six thousand, a 
force utterly inadequate to hold New York and at the same 
time co-operate with Burgoyne and St. Leger. 

Just before sailing from New York Howe sent a letter 
to Burgoyne which he carefully arranged should fall into 
the hands of Washington, for he gave it to be carried by a 
patriot prisoner whom he released and paid a handsome 
sum of money, as if he really believed that such a person 
would prove a faithful messenger. In this letter he said 
that he was making a feint at sea to the southward, but 
that his real intention was to sail to Boston, and from 
there assist Burgoyne at Albany.* 

This letter was itself a feint ; Howe's ships disappeared 
in the hot July haze that overhung the ocean, and for a 
week nothing more was heard of him. A Connecticut 
newspaper printed an advertisement offering a reward for a 
lost general. 

* Irving, " Washington," vol. iii. chap, xi.; Marsh.aU, " Washing- 
ton, " vol. iii, chap. iii. 


Washington, who had separated his army into divisions 
for a rapid movement, now brought his force together at 
CoryelPs Ferry, on the Delaware above Trenton, prepared 
to move quickly either to the Hudson or to Philadelphia. 
He could not quite believe that Howe intended to abandon 
Burgoyne. But on the 30th of July the people living at 
Cape Henlopen, at the entrance of the Delaware Bay, saw 
the ocean covered with the vast fleet of two hundred and 
fifty transports and men-of-war ; a beautiful but alarming 
sisit as they sailed over that summer sea and anchored in 

^3 * 

the bay. 

Washington now hurried his army to Philadelphia, and 
camped north of the town, near the Falls of the Schuylkill, 
on the line of what we have since known as Queen Lane, 
which runs into Germantown. This was the first appear- 
ance of the rebel army in mass at Philadelphia. Their 
sanitary arrangements, as Stewart's Orderly Book tells us, 
were particularly unfortunate on this occasion, and in that 
hot August weather a most horrible stench arose all round 
their camp.* 

But within a day or two Howe sailed out of Delaware 
Bay. He decided, as he and his officers afterwards ex- 
plained, that it was impracticable to go up the river to 
Philadelphia, because that city was defended by obstruc- 
tions in the water, and the shores below were inconve- 
nient for landing an army. Again he disappeared beyond 
the horizon, heading eastward, as if returning to New 
York with the intention of seizing the Highland passes on 
the Hudson and assisting Burgoyne by a sudden stroke. 

Washington was now completely puzzled. Unwilling to 
march his army in the torrid heat, he held it in the un- 
savory camp at Queen Lane until reflection and increasing 
anxiety compelled him to move again towards the Hudson. 
* Pennsylvania Magazine of History, vol. xxii. p. 308. 


But he had not gone far when he was stopped by messen- 
gers. The people who lived by fishing and shooting wild 
fowl at Sinepuxent Inlet, below Cape Henlopen, had caught 
a glimpse one day of a vast forest of masts moving slowly 
to the southward. But quickly, as if conscious that they 
could be seen from the land, the masts disappeared again. 

This was stranger than ever ; and Washington thought 
that Howe might be making for Charleston, either to 
occupy it or to lead the patriot army into a long march 
in a hot and unhealthy climate, and, having enticed them 
there, return quickly in his ships to any part of the middle 
or northern colonies, and easily and effectually co-operate 
with Burgoyne and St. Leger, 

But it was not Charleston's turn. Howe's progress was 
now very slow, for he was beating against head-winds. 
At last he was reported sailing up Chesapeake Bay, and 
then all was clear. He landed at the head of the bay, at 
the mouth of the Elk River, and from there in September 
marched on Philadelphia as a comfortable place in which 
to settle for the winter. In order to place himself beyond 
the possibility of assisting Burgoyne, he had made a cir- 
cuitous voyage of three hundred miles, which became' a 
thousand, beating against the head-winds, and a march of 
fifty miles by land, to reach a place from which he was 
less than one hundred miles by land when he started.* 

* The dates and time consumed in this extraordinary movement are 
worth observing. Howe embarked his troops at New York July 5, 
and kept them on the transports in the sweltering heat until July 23, 
when he sailed. He reached the entrance of Delaware Bay on the 
30th. Prom then until the 23d of August he was beating down the 
coast and up Chesapeake Bay. He marched from the head of 
the Chesapeake Bay September 8. In August, when he was as 
far away as possible from Lake Champlain, St. Leger and Burgoyne 
were meeting with their first reverses Burgoyne lost the battle of 
Bennington, August 16, and a few days afterwards St. Leger was 
completely defeated. Burgoyne surrendered October 17. 



When it was known that Howe was about to land at the 
head of the Chesapeake, Washington hurried across the 
country to get in front of him. On this inarch he paraded 
a large part of his force through Philadelphia, coming 
down Front Street and marching out Chestnut Street and 
across the Schuylkill. He wished to encourage the patriots 
in the town by this display, and, as the loyalists had been 
saying that there was no patriot army, he would in this 
way impress its size upon them. 

The greatest pains were taken with this parade. Earnest 
appeals were made to the troops to keep in step and avoid 
straggling. The axemen or pioneers headed the proces- 
sion, and the divisions were well spread out, with fifes and 
drums between them rattling away at marching tunes. 
To give some uniformity to the motley hunting-shirts, 
bare feet, and rags, every man wore a green sprig in his 
hat. The best-clothed men were the Virginians, and the 
smartest-looking troops were Smallwood's Marylanders. 

But they all looked like fighting men as they marched 
by to destroy Howe's prospects of a winter in Philadelphia. 
With the policy Howe was consistently pursuing, it might 
have been just as well to offer no obstacle to his taking 
Philadelphia. He merely intended to pass the winter there 
as he had done in Boston and in New York. But for the 
credit of the patriot cause and his own reputation, Washing- 
ton had to do all in his power to stop him. It would not 
do to hang on his rear and flanks and annoy him in guerilla 
fashion. He must fight a pitched battle, and such a battle 
Washington must necessarily lose, for he had only eleven 
thousand badly equipped troops with which to oppose 
Howe's eighteen thousand regulars.* 

* Bancroft estimates Howe's force at over twenty thousand without 
counting the engineer corps. "History of the United States, " edition 
of 1886, vol. v. p, 175. 


The battle of the Brandywine, stripped of its details, is 
a very simple affair. Washington placed himself directly 
across Howe's front, along the shore of the Brandywine at 
Chadd's Ford, with that river between him and his enemy. 
No one has ever doubted that this was the best and all that 
he could do. It is an elementary principle that an inferior 
force, placed in a strong position like this, with a river in 
front of it, and acting on the defensive, can resist the attack 
of a much superior force, if the superior force is content to 
attack in front. It is also equally elementary that the best 
policy for the superior force is not to confine itself to a 
front attack, but to use its greater numbers in flanking. 

Howe fought only two battles of his own in this war, 
Long Island and Brandywine, both of which were abso- 
lutely necessary to enable him to get into towns for the 
winter ; and he fought them both by flanking. He would 
probably have fought Bunker Hill in the same way if he 
had been allowed to use his own judgment. Knowing 
thoroughly the composition of the rebel army, the inade- 
quacy of its staff, and its inability to obtain quick and sure 
information on the field, the flank movement was for him 
both obvious and easy. 

At Brandywine he sent Knyphausen to make a violent 
attack on Washington's front, while under cover of the 
early morning fog he and Cornwallis took the rest of 
the army far up the Brandywine, crossed it, and came 
down with irresistible force upon "Washington's right. 

A young man of the neighborhood who wandered among 
the British troops, as non-combatants, whether patriots or 
loyalists, were allowed to do, has left a brief but rather 
interesting account of what he saw. He described Howe 
and Cornwallis as very large, heavy men, mounted on 
horses exhausted by the long sea-voyage. He watched the 
troops piling their blankets and knapsacks in the fields 


when preparing to fight, and he noticed their fresh-look- 
ing, smooth faces in strong contrast to the sunburnt Amer- 
icans to whom he was accustomed. The subordinate officers 
he described as short, portly men, with very delicate white 

Washington heard a vague rumor of this flanking, and 
was preparing to make what is often the counter-stroke to 
such a flank movement. He intended to lead his whole 
force in person across the river and crush Knyphausen, 
who was in front of him. He would then have been in 
the position of having divided Howe's army in half, 
defeated one division of it, and placed the river between 
himself and the other division. By a similar counter- 
stroke, Napoleon, when his right flank was being turned, 
brought victory out of defeat at Austerlitz. 

But presently the report of Howe's flanking movement 
was denied. Washington abandoned his counter-stroke, 
and learned the truth of the flanking movement too late. 
His army was so wretchedly organized, especially in means 
of rapid communication with itself, that it could not do 
justice to its own fighting qualities. Washington could 
now only resist stubbornly, and retreat in good order, and 
Howe, of course, did not pursue. 

Military critics like Du Portail and other French officers 
were all agreed that Howe now had a good opportunity of 
exterminating the rebel army. He could have crowded 
them into the triangle formed by the Delaware and Schuyl- 
kill Rivers. But he would not do it. He followed most 
precisely and consistently the line of conduct which he 
seems to have laid down for himself from the beginning, f 

* Bulletin Pennsylvania Historical Society, vol. v. p. 23. 

f " Howe," as Galloway said, "always succeeded in every attack he 
thought proper to make, as far as he chose to succeed. ; ' See, also, Sted- 
man, American "War/' vol. i. pp. 293, 294. 



If he had pursued "Washington and inflicted a crushing 
defeat he might have left part of his force to occupy Phila- 
delphia and then marched rapidly to Burgoyne. This 
was what the ministry expected when they heard of the 
Philadelphia expedition, and it would have made that 
expedition an intelligent movement.* They also expected 
that Howe would have at least sent a force into New Eng- 
land to prevent the militia of that region being massed 
against Burgoyne. As he had neglected to do this, and 
neglected to leave a sufficient force with Clinton to assist 
Burgoyne, it was to little purpose that he argued that he 
had sufficiently assisted Burgoyne by withdrawing Wash- 
ington's army to Philadelphia. 

As Washington had at most only 11,000, and Howe 
18,000, and later 20,000, it was rather Washington draw- 
ing away Howe's army. The 20,000 were ill used in 
drawing away 11,000, when they left Clinton so weak 
that he could not assist Burgoyne, and when none were 
spared from them to make a diversion on the New England 
coast. As General Robertson aptly put it, in his testimony 
before the committee of inquiry, the movement of Howe 
to Philadelphia was a diversion, but a more powerful 
diversion in favor of Burgoyne would have been to go 
straight up the Hudson to his assistance. 

Howe's excuse that it would have been impossible for 
him to reach Burgoyne with Washington's force blocking 
the way on the Hudson at the Highland passes also seems 
inadequate in view of Clinton's success at those passes 
with a very small force. The combined force of Clinton 
and Howe could surely have as well occupied the attention 
of Washington's army on the Hudson as at Philadelphia, 
could in all probability have forced their way through, and 

* "Remarks on General Burgoyne's State of the Expedition from 
Canada, " p. 37, London, 1780. 


could have detached a considerable force for the vital ser- 
vice of an attack on New England. Howe's explanations 
are rendered more than doubtful when we find that he 
would not make the slightest diversion on the New Eng- 
land coast to prevent the movement of the militia of that 
region which finally defeated Burgoyne. The ministry 
had repeatedly told him of tibie importance of this, and 
he could easily have spared five thousand men for the pur- 

Washington, after his defeat at Brandywine, retreated 
with most of his army to Chester on the Delaware. There 
seems to have been some scattering among his men, al- 
though it cannot be said that his army was demoralized. 
His wounded were sent to Chester and various places. 
Among the wounded, young Lafayette, with a ball in his 
leg, was carried to Bethlehem, to be cared for by the 

The next day Washington took most of his army up 
the Delaware towards the SchuylkilL Howe now had 
him forced into the angle of the two rivers, and could have 
compelled his surrender or destruction. But Washington 
passed on unmolested, crossed the Schuylkill, and encamped 
in Germantown between the two rivers. 

Having declined to destroy Washington's army when 
he had it in his power, it was now somewhat difficult for 
Howe to cross the Schuylkill and enter Philadelphia. The 
floating bridges were all taken away, and the steep banks 
of the river made crossing doubly difficult so long as 
Washington was at large and might attack the first small 
force that got across the stream. 

The desire of the British army to get into Philadelphia 
and of Washington to prevent it kept up for two weeks a 
contest of wits between Washington and Howe. Howe 
was determined to do no more fighting if he could help 


it. He appeared to be in no hurry, and remained camped 
near the battle-field of the Brandywine. Wayne's scouts 
who watched him reported that his men were quietly rest- 
ing, cooking, and washing their clothes. 

Stung by his defeat and seeing the laxity of Howe, 
"Washington was impatient to try another issue. He soon 
crossed the Schuylkill to the same side with Howe, and 
marched twenty miles until he found the British a little 
west of Paoli at the Warren Tavern. There the two 
armies confronted each other, apparently ready for battle. 

But there was no battle. The extraordinary spectacle 
was presented of a small defeated army returning to the 
victor and standing in front of him, daring him to fight. 
It was the situation at White Plains over again. After 
defeating the patriots at Long Island, Howe had refused 
to follow up the advantage and refused to fight at White 
Plains, so he now refused to fight at Warren Tavern. His 
excuse was that rain began falling, which continued for 
twenty-four hours. As Washington could not very well 
assume the offensive against a force which was double the 
size of his own, he marched back through the rain, which 
dampened his powder and seriously distressed his half- 
naked, barefooted men, and having reached the Schuylkill, 
he crossed it to the eastern side. 

While this movement was in progress some of the 
British under General Grey on the night of September 20, 
guided by loyalists, surprised Wayne, who had been left 
to watch the British and was encamped with about fifteen 
hundred men near the Paoli Inn. Grey, whose only dis- 
tinction in the war was in prisoner-killing, had recently 
arrived in America. He compelled his men to draw the 
loads from their muskets and take out the flints, a method 
which at that time was very effective for a night attack. 
Wayne and most of his men escaped, but Grey committed 


most ruthless slaughter with sword and bayonet on the 
remainder, killing and wounding three hundred of them. 
It was generally regarded as an excessive massacre, which 
amounted to prisoner-killing, and the commander was ever 
afterwards known among the patriots as "No- Flint Grey." * 

Soon after this Howe followed Washington to the 
Schuylkill and marched up the shore, with "Washington 
following on the opposite side, keeping even pace with 
him, when, by a sudden backward movement, Howe slipped 
a sufficient force over one of the fords to protect his cross- 
ing, and almost before Washington was aware of it the 
whole British army was across. It was a neat, clever piece 
of work, conforming with the utmost preciseness to the 
general plan of Howe's conduct in America. Washing- 
ton's explanation was, that all the people in that part of 
the country were loyalists and he could obtain no infor- 
mation of Howe's backward movement. It was also at 
this time that he reported'a thousand of his men marching 
barefooted, f 

Philadelphia was lost to the patriots. Part of the British 
army, under Cornwallis, marched into it September 26 in 
grand display, the bands playing and the Hessians with 
their moustaches upturned and scowling in the most ter- 
rible manner. At Germantown, directly north of Phila- 
delphia, Howe formed a strong outpost, under his own 
command, covering some of the roads that led to the 
city, until he could protect the city by fortifications on its 
northern side. As this outpost was isolated seven miles 
away from the rest of the army, somewhat in the same 
way that the outpost had been placed at Trenton, Wash- 

* Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, vol. i. p. 

f Irving, "Life of "Washington," vol. iii. chap, six.; Baker, 
"Itinerary of Washington, 77 p. 92. 



ington attacked it with most of his army early in the 
morning of October 4. 

But he was less fortunate than at Trenton. The out- 
post was too strong, and, with its centre at Market Square 
in Germantown, was spread out for three or four miles at 
right angles to the roads that led to Philadelphia. Wash- 
ington, in attacking, had to spread out his troops almost as 
widely, and the old difficulty lack of a proper staff and 
quick communication on the field spoiled his opportunity. 
He lost about a thousand men in killed, wounded, and 
prisoners, and returned unsuccessful. But he struck so 
hard and courageously that he raised the reputation of the 
patriot cause among all its friends.* 

The loyalists were in despair at the spectacle of himself 
that Howe was making. But Howe, with the utmost 
good humor, proceeded to settle himself and his official 
family most comfortably in Philadelphia ; and Galloway 
was made superintendent of police of the town. Howe's 
force of 18,000 was soon increased to 20,000. As in New 
York, they surrounded themselves with gayeiy of every 
kind, cricket, theatricals, cock-fights, balls, music, and 
the wit, clever verses, and sketches of Andr. Just as 
they had begun to settle down in this pleasant way, on 
October 17, about two weeks after the battle of German- 
town, poor Tory Burgoyne surrendered at Saratoga. 

On October 22 Howe wrote to Germain, saying that he 
had heard a rebel rumor of Burgoyne's surrender, but 
did not believe it. He is greatly surprised, he says, to 
hear that Burgoyne had complained of the failure to co- 
operate with him. He thought that it was distinctly un- 
derstood through his letters to Carleton and to the ministry 
that " no direct assistance could be given by the Southern 

* Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, voL i. p. 368 j 
voL ii. p. 112 ; vol. xvL p. 197. 


army." He then adds that so little attention has been 
given to his recommendations that he would like to be 
recalled and allowed to resign from " this very painful ser- 
vice, wherein I have not the good fortune to enjoy the 
necessary confidence and support of my superiors.* 

As his resignation was not accepted for many months, 
he remained in Philadelphia, which he completely pro- 
tected from attack on the north by redoubts, stretching 
from the Delaware to the Schuylkill, along the present 
lines of Green and Poplar Streets. On all other sides 
Philadelphia was protected by the two rivers which came 
together somewhat like the letter V. 

The patriots still held the forts below the city, Eed 
Bank, Mifflin, and Billingsport. These were reduced by 
combined action of the army and Admiral Howe's fleet, 
which had now come up the river. The forts were de- 
fended heroically, and there were few battles of the Revo- 
lution in which there was such desperate, furious fight- 
ing, f It was the only fighting done by Admiral Howe 
during his command ; and the Hessians, as usual, bore the 
brunt of it. They were always clamoring for distinction 
and the honors of war, and Howe was entirely willing to 
gratify them. 

The river being now opened and free to the British, there 
was nothing more for the army to do except to live com- 
fortably inside the redoubts. One expedition was made by 
Howe before winter began. He took a force out to White 
Marsh, took a look at Washington's army without attack- 
ing it, and came back again. In the following May he 
made a similar expedition to capture Lafayette's force at 
Barren Hill, and came back equally unsuccessful. 

* Parliamentary Register, House of Commons, 1779, vol. xi. p. 

f " Pennsylvania: Colony and Commonwealth," pp. 847-356. 


The army's peaceful sojourn in the town from Septem- 
ber 26 3 1777, to June 18, 1778, was a source of great en- 
joyment and an unrivalled opportunity for social advance- 
ment to the loyalists. It was the harvest of their lives. 
Even a wicked rebellion could have advantages. One 
of the loyalist ladies has left some enthusiastic and rather 
good verses on the delights of that winter.* 

It was a strange scene in the good old Quaker town with 
the rebel prisoners eating rats in the Walnut Street jail, 
while the commissary of prisoners grew rich, and extrava- 
gance, speculation, gambling, and European indifference 
to morals filled the respectable, plain brick houses. A 
Hessian officer held the bank at the game of faro and made 
a considerable fortune by ruining young Englishmen, many 
of whom were obliged to sell their commissions and go home 
penniless. The officers made no attempt to keep their mis- 
tresses in the background. One of them drove in her car- 

* " O halcyon days, forever dear, 

"When all were happy, all were gay ; 
When winter did like spring appear, 
And January fair as May ! 

" Then laughing Sol went gayly down, 

Still brighter in the morn to rise, 
And fondly waking o'er the town, 
On Britain's ensign "beamed his eyes. 

11 Then all confessed the valiant knight 

Had learnt in camps the art to please. 
Eespectful, witty, yet polite ; 
Uniting fancy, grace, and ease. 

" Still danced the frolic hours away, 

While heart and feet alike were light. 
Still hope announced each smiling day, 

And mirth and music crowned each night, " f 

| De Lancey's note to Jones, "New York in the Revolution, " vol. i. 
p. 717. 


riage with footmen up and down lines at a review of the 
troops, dressed in a costume that was a feminine imitation 
of the uniform of her paramour's regiment.* 

Howe's plan, as Lord Chatham said in Parliament, was 
merely to occupy stations. "Washington followed the same 
plan he had found to work well enough the previous winter 
which Howe spent in New York. He fortified himself 
with intrenchments on some high ground at Valley Forge, 
about twenty miles away, very much in the same way that 
during the last winter he had occupied Morristown Heights, 
He could there play the long waiting game with Howe as 
well as anywhere else. Howe could have attacked him at 
almost any time at Yalley Forge and destroyed or captured 
his starving army. Howe had 20,000 men. Washington 
had 9000, counting the sick, starved, and half-naked, and 
by March 3000 had deserted to the British, and so many 
others were sick or at home that there were only 4000 
men at Yalley Forge. 

If Howe had wished to avoid the loss of a direct attack, 
even on so few, he could have easily surrounded Valley 
Forge and taken them all by siege without any loss to speak 
of, for there were often not enough supplies among them to 
keep them alive, even on starvation rations, for more than 
four days, or a week at the utmost, f They deserted in 
tens and fifties, appearing in Philadelphia half-naked, bare- 
footed, a tattered blanket strapped to their waists; and 
their first thought was to sell their guns to buy food. 

Howe obtained most of his supplies by his ships, which 
was the usual method of the British throughout the war. 
He kept the river open and certain roads out into the 

* Sargent, " Life of Andre," p. 145 ; Stedman, American War," 
vol. i. p. 309, London, 1794. 

f Stedman, "American War," pp. 308, 310, London, 1794; Ban- 
croft, "History of the United States, " edition of 1886, vol. v. p. 217; 
Parliamentary Eegister, House of Commons, 1779, vol. xi. p. 465. 


country for the loyalists to bring in the produce of farms 
and gardens. It \vas by robbing this produce on its way 
to Howe that the patriots at Valley Forge received a large 
part of their scanty subsistence.* 

They had a force organized for this purpose and scout- 
ing between the Delaware and Schuylkill Rivers under 
the command of Allan McLane, a rough-rider and free- 
bpoter of the most gallant type. He made dashes up to 
the very line of redoubts which stretched from river to 
river along the line of Green and Poplar Streets. His 
men, who seized provisions intended for the British, were 
known as market stoppers. They were very apt to be 
captured in their daring work, and were then paraded by 
the British through the streets, with the vegetables strung 
around their necks and market-baskets on their arms, 
before being jailed or publicly whipped and turned adrift. 
In retaliation, the patriots would often whip loyalist market- 
men, brand them in the hand with the British army letters 
G. E., and send them into the British lines. 

People who had favored the patriot cause were still con- 
tinually dropping out of it. Many of them became alto- 
gether hopeless soon after the battle of the Brandywine. 

* Sargent, Life of AndreY' pp. 143, 144, 159 ; Cotoett, Parlia- 
mentary History," vol. xx. p. 346 ; Parliamentary Register, House of 
Commons, 1770, vol. xiii. pp. 430, 431, 435, 436. 

When spring came some of the loyalists wrote verses to inspire Howe 
with activity : 

" Awake, arouse, Sir Billy, Heed not a woman's prattle 

There's forage in the plain ; Which tickles in the ear, 

Ah, leave your little filly But give the word for "battle 
And open the campaign ; And grasp the warlike spear." f 

The mention of forage in the second line refers to Howe's perpetual 
excuse that he could not go much outside of Philadelphia or NQW 
York for fear of having no food for his horses. 

f Jones, " New York in the Revolution, ' ' vol. i. p. 716. 


The disasters and the imbecility of the attempt at indepen- 
dence seemed to them too absurd to be longer endured. A 
typical specimen of these was the Rev. Jacob Duch6, a 
brilliant young clergyman of the Church of England, 
settled in Philadelphia, who had at first taken sides with 
the patriots and gained prominence by opening the session 
of the Congress with a very eloquent prayer. 

Disgusted with the hopelessness of the rebellion, the 
petty peculation and frauds in the rebel army, the deterio- 
ration in character of its officers and of the members of 
the undignified wandering rebel Congress, and similar 
things which make a deep impression on men of a certain 
kind of education and refinement, he felt compelled to 
write a long letter to Washington, imploring him in the 
name of God and humanity to put an end to the absurd 
contest for independence, and at the head of his army 
negotiate some sort of compromise with England.* 

The letter was widely circulated, and is well worth 
reading, as showing the conditions of the time. One of 
DuchS's arguments was that the long time which had 
elapsed without active aid from France proved that it 
could not be obtained. He seemed unable to appreciate 
the effect of Howe's plan of leaving Burgoyne to his fate. 

An attempt has sometimes been made to save the trouble 
of investigating the evidence and to explain Howe's con- 
duct in a few words by telling a rather curious story about 
certain peremptory and positive written orders to co-operate 
with Burgoyne which had been prepared by the ministry 
but accidentally forgotten by Germain and not sent to 
Howe from England. In his speech before the committee 
of inquiry, afterwards published as his " Narrative/' Howe 
said that no " explicit instructions" had been sent to him, 

* See Graydon, "Memoirs, 77 edition of 1846, pp. 283, 284, and 



but that he did not rely on this as a defence. He preferred 
to rest his Philadelphia expedition on its merits as the best 
military manoeuvre that could be made under the circum- 
stances.* He was compelled to take this ground because 
the ministry, after giving him full information about the 
expedition from Canada, left him, as they had done all 
through the war, to act according to his discretion. He 
knew all about the Burgoyne plan, and had the responsi- 
bility of deciding whether to support it or not. He knew 
without peremptory orders the importance and necessity 
of such a junction, as did also his officers, the rebels, and 
everybody at that time. Sir Henry Clinton, in his manu- 
script notes to Stedman's " American Wax" says, " I owe 
it to truth to say there was not, I believe, a man in the 
army, except Lord Cornwallis and General Grant, who 
did not reprobate the move to the southward and see the 
necessity of a co-operation with General Burgoyne." The 
patriots believed that such a junction would seal their fate. 
"Nothing under heaven can save us," wrote Trumbull, 
" but the enemy's going to the southward." f 

Still another attempt at a short and easy explanation 
has been made by assigning to that adventurer, General 
Charles Lee, the responsibility for Howe's movement to 
Philadelphia. While a prisoner in New York he was 

* " Narrative," pp. 18, 20. The omission to send peremptory orders 
to Howe was not as accidental as has been supposed. General Robert- 
son testified before the committee of inquiry that he had urged upon 
Germain the importance of not crippling Howe's movements by positive 
instructions, and that Germain had acted on this advice, and had left 
Howe to act on his own discretion. Parliamentary Register, House of 
Commons, 1779, vol. xiii. pp. 305, 323. 

f Life of Peter Yan Schaack, pp. 173-178 ; Clinton's MS. notes to 
Stedman 7 s u American War," p. 289; De Laneey's note to Jones, 
"New York in the Revolution," vol. i. p. 697 ; Galloway, "Reply to 
Observations of Sir "W. Howe;" " Remarks on General Burgoyne's 
State of the Expedition from Canada," London, 1780. 


well treated by Howe, who possibly may have been amused 
by his gossip and affectation. Lee, who was in some 
danger of being hanged, offered, it seems, to help the British 
conquer the Americans, and drew up a plan of campaign 
for Howe, recommending a movement to the southward.* 
This plan, dated March 29, 1777, was found among Howe's 
papers, or the papers of his private secretary, many years 
after the Revolution. In an essay read before the New York 
Historical Society in 1858 the plan and its influence upon 
Howe are represented as causing his failure to co-operate 
with Burgoyne; and at least one historian has adopted 
this suggestion as a full explanation of Howe's conduct, f 

It would seem, however, that inasmuch as General Corn- 
wallis and General Grant favored the movement to Phila- 
delphia, it would be better accounted for by their influence 
rather than by the influence of a most contemptible char- 
acter, who was a prisoner, afraid of being hung for trea- 
son. Moreover, Howe had formed the plan of going to 
Philadelphia early in the winter, before Christmas, and 
many months before the date of the plan. 

We also find, when we read the plan, that it does not 
recommend the move to Philadelphia which Howe made. 
It recommends the occupation of the well-known strategic 
position of the Chesapeake, seizing Alexandria in Virginia 
and Annapolis in Maryland, and, as an accompaniment to 
this position, the occupation of Philadelphia. 

Howe knew all about this without any suggestions from 
Lee that such a movement into territory full of loyalists 
would end the rebellion and make an expedition to the 

* At the same time he offered to disclose to Congress the coming 
summer's campaign of the British. Boudinot's "Journal," p. 74, 
1894. And yet it was upon Lee that the Congress relied for the chief 
command in case of mishap to "Washington. Bancroft, " History of 
the United States, edition of 1886, vol. v. p. 62. 

f "The Treason of Charles Lee," by George E. Moore, 1860. 


north unnecessary. The Lee plan is an interesting curi- 
osity ; but the suggestions of scared prisoners, and even 
the suggestions of subordinate officers, cannot relieve Howe 
from the responsibility of having reasons of his own for 
all he did. 

As it has been so difficult to find good military reasons 
for his conduct, and as it has been deemed inadvisable to 
disclose the political reasons given by Galloway and the 
loyalists, and the evidence that was before the committee 
of inquiry, the historians have strained hard to invent 
other explanations, and the boldest one of all has been 
adopted by Bancroft, who assigns General Carleton as 
the cause of all the trouble. Carleton, he says, origi- 
nated the expedition from Canada, He was ambitious 
to come down from Canada into the rebellious colo- 
nies and take the supreme command. Howe refused to 
assist the expedition from Canada because it might be 
commanded by Carleton, who, when he arrived in New 
York, would outrank Howe and supersede him. The 
discovery or suspicion of this design on the part of Carleton, 
Bancroft assures us, led Howe to announce to Germain and 
Carleton that he would not assist the northern movement 
down Lake Champlain.* Bancroft gives no proof of this 
supposition ; but the reader has now all the explanations 
and their sources before him, and can test them for 

* Bancroft, "History of the United States," edition of 1886, vol. v. 
p. 147. 





GENERAL CLINTON, who had been left with a small 
force in New York, started up the Hudson to do what he 
could for Burgoyne. But as soon as he let Howe know 
what he was doing, he was discouraged and requested, in- 
stead of going up the Hudson, to send part of his force to 
Philadelphia to help reduce the forts on the Delaware.* 
Howe would not make an attack of any kind on the coasts 
of New England to check the movement of the militia of 
that region against Burgoyne. 

Clinton did his utmost He waited for some seventeen 
hundred reinforcements that were to arrive, and then started 
up the Hudson with only two or three thousand men, 
meeting with some success. He took the Highland forts 
October 6, with thousands of rebel muskets and vast quan- 
tities of ammunition, military tools, and supplies. But he 
moved slowly, and was too late. Even if he had been 
able to advance farther up, his little force was hopelessly 
inadequate to cope with the New England troops that were 
collecting far to the north of him, near Lake Champlain. 

For a time after leaving Canada Burgoyne and his eight 
thousand men met with good success, drove the Americans 
before them, took Ticonderoga, and gained a decided vic- 
tory at Hubbardton. But difficulties increased as they 
advanced. The greatest efforts were made all over New 

*De Lancey's note to Jones, "New York in the Bevolution," 
vol. i. p. 704; Bancroft, "History of the United States," edition of 
1886 7 vol. v. p. 195 ; Parliamentary JRegister, House of Commons, 
1779, vol xiii. pp. 379, 380. 


England to collect and send forces that would overwhelm 
Burgoyne, now that Howe and his 18,000 men had gone 
to Philadelphia, and Clinton, on account of his small num- 
bers, was helpless in New York. The English appear 
to have believed that violence and handcuffs were used 
to force patriots to serve, and that the New England 
prisons were filled with delinquents.* "Washington also 
sent reinforcements from his little army that was playing 
around Howe. By this means about 11,000 patriot militia 
were collected and hurried into the region above Albany, 
where they inflicted the first check upon Burgoyne at the 
battle of Bennington. 

Bennington was fought on August 16, 1777, while Howe 
was leisurely sailing up the Chesapeake with his eighteen 
thousand men. A few days afterwards, while Howe was 
landing his men at the mouth of the Elk River, Burgoyne 
heard that St. Leger, who was to have taken Fort Stanwix 
and then come down the Mohawk with seventeen hundred 
men, had been disastrously defeated and put to flight by 
Herkimer, Gansevoort, and Arnold. 

Under all the circumstances it might now have been the 
best course for Burgoyne to retreat back to Canada, but he 
considered himself under peremptory instructions to pro- 
ceed and effect a junction with Howe, upon whom he and 
all his officers and men relied to come and meet them.f 
But with his force reduced to about 6000, he was soon at 
the mercy of Gates, who, with 11,000, on October 17, 1777, 
at the battle of Saratoga, easily compelled a surrender.^ 

* u Kemarks on General Burgoyne's State of the Expedition from 
Canada, " p. 28, London, 1780. 

t Cobbett, "Parliamentary History," vol. xx. pp. 740, 786, 788, 798; 
Parliamentary Register, House of Commons, 1777, vol. xi. pp. 478, 
479, vol. xiii. pp. 92, 93, 164, 174, 176, 253, 266, 267- 

J Burgoyne started with 9861 men, and surrendered 6791- Some 
accounts of the battle of Saratoga give Gage the very large army of 


By the agreement that was signed, Burgoyne's soldiers were 
to be paroled and allowed to return to England. But 
disputes arose as to furnishing lists of the prisoners, and 
they were held in a camp in Virginia until the close of 
the war. 

It was certainly a most extraordinary event. After over 
two years of continuous, almost uninterrupted, defeat and 
disaster, with the rebellion generally believed, even by its 
own followers, to be on the eve of completely collapsing into 
mere predatory and bandit warfare, suddenly a whole British 
army surrenders to a patriot officer of no military reputation 
whatever. It was the turning point of the Eevolution, 
because although it may possibly be true that "Vergennes and 
the French king intended before long to assist us openly, 
yet Saratoga was a strong inducement to them to come out 
plainly and make a treaty of alliance. Fighting was con- 
tinued for four years more, and even with the assistance of 
France the patriot cause had so dwindled in 1780 that 
most people had given up all hope of independence. But 
looking back upon the contest as a whole, one cannot help 
feeling that without Saratoga independence might have 
been defeated and our country turned into an Ireland, 

The king of France had hesitated a long time. He 
wished to cripple England, and yet to assist the American 
insurgents seemed like wronging the cause of monarchy. 
But Prussia and Eussia encouraged him to do everything 

18, 624 men. Gage gave this as the number of his force in answer 
to Burgoyne's inquiry. But it seems to have been intended to spare 
Burgoyne's feelings ; and for the same reason the document prepared 
and signed was, at Burgoyne's request, called a convention instead of 
a surrender. Be Lancey's note to Jones, "Kew York in the Revo- 
lution," vol. i. p. 674. See also Parliamentary Register, House of 
Commons, 1779, vol. aaii. pp. 259, 260, 269 j also p. 110, where Bur- 
goyne, under strong provocation in Parliament, asserted that he had 
surrendered only 2000 men. 


to injure England, and when the greatest, the best, and 
the most far-reaching plan for crushing the rebellion broke 
down completely by the surrender of a whole army, there 
was no more need for hesitation. Three months after- 
wards, in spite of the protests of his most important min- 
isters, except Vergennes, he signed a treaty of alliance with 
rebels, set the fashion for the aristocracy to run after 
Franklin and les insurffents, took upon himself the task 
of giving them independence, and changed their condition 
from absolute hopelessness to what proved in the end to be 
absolute security. So it came to pass that the greatest ad- 
vancement, the greatest expansion and development of the 
ideas of free government, self-government, the rights of 
man and liberty, that ever was given to the Anglo-Saxon 
race was given to it by a Frenchman, a Celt, half Bourbon, 
half Pole. 

The Spanish government, under the influence of its 
minister, Florida Blanca, was at first opposed to giving 
aid to such extreme republicans as the American insurgents. 
But gradually, Spain, as a good hater of England and a 
good friend of the French house of Bourbon, began to sup- 
ply the patriots with money, sent through France, without 
the knowledge of the English government, to which gov- 
ernment the warmest expressions of regard were given. 

Howe was a good Whig ; the patriots drank his health ; 
and we should build a monument to him. Nothing like 
it has ever happened. K"o other independence-loving 
minority, or independence-loving majority, has ever escaped 
by such romantic and fortuitous circumstances from the 
independence-hating British lion's maw. It was most 
extraordinary good fortune. The Abb Oorrea always 
used to say that there was a special providence for som- 
nambulists, drunken men on horseback, and the citizens of 
the United States. 


One cannot help wondering what our subsequent history 
would have been if Whig principles and Howe had not 
had such a large share in " suppressing" our rebellion. 
"What would have been the result if the Tories had from 
the start really got to work at the suppression and devasta- 
tion which has been inflicted by them upon Ireland, South 
Africa, and other countries. If Howe, when his large 
force gave him the opportunity to do it, had seized and 
imprisoned boys and all non-combatant patriots of any 
age, who might in the future join the patriot army, and 
had reconcentradoed the patriot women and children whom 
he allowed to wander among his troops, he might have 
considerably altered the course of history, and Graydon 
would not have been able to write that he passed from 
New York to New Jersey in the winter of 1776-77 and 
found no particular evidences of war. Howe was quietly 
resting in New York and Washington quietly waiting at 

Loyalists like Judge Jones, of New York, and William 
Franklin, the governor of New Jersey, called for the 
most relentless severity, slaughter, hanging, exile, and 
confiscation, the severity that had been inflicted on Ire- 
land,! n mercy to men, women, or children, the same 
call which, in our own time, we have heard from literary 
men of England for effecting the extermination of the Boer 

If the call in our case had been answered in time and 
the whole patriot party had been literally exterminated or 
banished, it might have been effective. If it had left the 
patriots in the country, we should have become a perpetual 


4 Memoirs,' 7 edition of 1846, pp, 282, 283. 
t Jones, "New York in the Kevolution," vol. ii. p. 27 j Ban- 
croft, " History of the United States," edition of 1886. vol. v. pp. 
294, 327. 

VlRWohl* *t a *eM>i' ChlKAT 


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political sore like Ireland, with an endless contest and 
undying hatred, continued for centuries, aided, no doubt, 
by assassination societies, between the patriots and the 
loyalists. The atrocities and retaliation committed by 
these two divisions of our people in New York, New 
Jersey, and the South, even at the close of the Eevo- 
lution, show what would have happened if England as 
a conqueror had restored the country to the loyalists and 
placed them in power. "We should have become, like 
Ireland, an arena for repression, confiscations, "coloniza- 
tion," hangings, torture, assassinations, reform bills, home- 
rule bills, coercion bills, crimes acts, and all the other 
marvellous measures of British statesmanship which have 
been used to pacify Ireland during seven hundred years ; 
for, like Ireland, the spirit of patriotism and indepen- 
dence was so far developed among a large part of our people 
that it could be stamped out only by the destruction of 
each individual wljo entertained it. 

And now we must prepare to take leave of our hero, 
General Sir William Howe, the conqueror of America. 
His resignation was finally accepted. And why not ? His 
work was done. He could do no more either for the 
Whigs or for the Americans, and he might as well return 
to his place in Parliament and at Almacks. London was 
more interesting than the colonies, even when assisted by 
Mrs. Loring. If the charge is true that he had purposely 
allowed the rebellion to develop, he could now laugh at the 
Tory ministry ; and his voluntary retirement was an open 
Whig declaration to all Europe that the attempt of the gov- 
ernment to establish its sovereignty in the colonies would 
not only certainly fail, but had already failed. 

His career and the gayety of his sojourn in Philadelphia 
reached their climax in May, when some of the officers 
subscribed among themselves to give a magnificent /&e 


and tournament for the amusement of the loyalist ladies 
and in honor of the general who was about to return 
to England. It was called the Mischianza, or Medley, 
and was an imitation of one given at Lord Derby's coun- 
try-seat in England four years before, for which General 
Burgoyne had written his play, " The Maid of the Oaks." 
It was too bad the poor fellow could not be in Phila- 
delphia to help at this one. But the taste and versatile 
accomplishments of Major Andr6 were amply sufficient. 
We understand Andres character better when we remem- 
ber that both his parents were French. 

The town was ransacked for blue, gold, and scarlet cloth 
and every article of finery that could be found. Andr6, 
with the officers and the ladies, was busy in designing 
extravagant costumes, and in decorating the house at 
the Wharton country place on the southern outskirts of 
the town. Wooden buildings and review stands were 
added to the house, and the grounds arranged for the tour- 

The great ball-room was pale blue and rose pink, panelled 
with a small gold bead, and gorgeous with festoons of 
flowers ; and these decorations were heightened with eighty- 
five great mirrors decked with rose-pink silk, ribbons, and 
artificial flowers. The supper-room was two hundred and 
ten feet long by forty feet wide and twenty-two feet high, 
decorated in a similar way, and with fifty-six large pier 
glasses and hundreds of branches, lights, lustres, and 
tapers. Besides all this, there were drawing-rooms, card- 
rooms, and alcoves ; and, most interesting of all, Andr6 
himself was there, so glib in technical terms and the name 
for every shade of ribbon or hanging. 

Andr6 designed the invitation card. It was a shield 
with General Howe's crest and a view of the ocean and 
the setting sun. Any unfavorable implication in the set- 


ting sun was saved by the motto " iMceo descendens, aucto 
splendor e resurgam" which completed the farce.* 

On the afternoon of May 18 the f&e began with a 
grand regatta, which started on the river just where the 
line of redoubts touched the water-side. There were gal- 
leys, barges, and boats of all sorts covered with streamers 
and pennants, filled with ladies and officers, accompanied 
by all the bands and music of the army and surrounding 
the great central Huzzar Galley, with General Howe and 
the admiral on board. Barges kept the swarms of spec- 
tators' boats from pressing on the procession. The trans- 
ports, gayly decorated and crowded with spectators, were 
placed in a line the whole length of the town's water-front. 
The men-of-war anchored in line out in the stream, manned 
their yards, and covered their rigging with the flags of all 
nations, among which could be seen the rebel stars and 
stripes. The broadsides thundered salutes, and great clouds 
of white smoke rolled along the tide, while the procession 
of galleys, heaped up with the most brilliantly colored cos- 
tumes, passed along. There had never been such a scene 
upon the Delaware. 

The procession passed down the river to the southern 
end of the town opposite to the Wharton villa, and there, 
while the cannonading still continued, they landed on the 
pretty gravel beach and made another procession between 
lines of grenadiers and cavalry up through the lawn of 
the old country place to the pavilions. The trumpets 
sounded, the bands played again, and the mock tourna- 
ment began on horses most richly caparisoned, ridden by 
knights and esquires, in white and red silk, with banners, 
pennants, and mottoes. The eye was dazzled by the gor- 

* A British writer of that time suggested that Howe "be raised to the 
peerage under the title Baron Delay Warr. Jones, " New York in 
the Bevolution," vol. i. p. 197. 


geous display of gold and blue and scarlet ; and the lavish- 
ness of outlay and extravagance would have fed and 
clothed all the rebel armies for the rest of the "war. 

There were ladies in gorgeous Turkish costumes with 
wondrous high turbans. Blue-jackets from the ships stood 
in picturesque attitudes with drawn cutlasses. There were 
lines of jet-black slaves in Oriental costumes, with big 
silver collars round their necks and silver bracelets on their 
naked arms, who bent their heads to the ground as the 
general and the admiral, the mighty conquerors of all 
America, passed by. 

The trumpets were flourishing, the knights were shiver- 
ing their spears and clattering their swords in what seemed 
a terrible conflict for the favor of the ladies, and every- 
where could be seen their extraordinary and infinitely silly 
mottoes about love and glory. Heralds in black and 
orange dashed here and there on their horses, and there 
were proclamations that the knights of the Burning Moun- 
tain would contend, not by words, but by deeds, and prove 
that the ladies of the Burning Mountain excelled in virtue 
and beauty all others in the universe. And at last all the 
ladies, by their heralds, stopped the supposed horrible 
carnage and declared themselves satisfied. 

But why should we tell how, when the tournament was 
over, they crowded about in the old country place, among 
triumphal arches, columns in the Tuscan order, imitation 
Sienna marble, boom-shells, and flaming hearts, and as 
night came on divided themselves among the faro-tables, 
the supper-room, and the dancing-hall ? 

At ten they had fireworks, beginning with " a magnifi- 
cent bouquet of rockets," as Andr6 described it. The 
triumphal arches were illuminated with streaming rockets, 
bursting balloons, and transparencies. The shells and 
flaming hearts sent forth Chinese fountains. It was a 


most wonderful feu d* artifice, as Andr kept explaining ; 
and why an army that had brought such a supply of fire- 
works with them had failed to put down the little rebel- 
lion was the mystery which he did not explain. The 
chief engineer had charge of the feu d'artifice, and his 
resources seemed to be boundless. At the end, Fame 
appeared at the top of all the arches, spangled with stars, 
and blowing from her trumpet to Conqueror Howe, in 
letters of light, the legend, " Thy laurels shall never fade/' 
followed by a great fauteur of rockets as a punctuation 
mark to the legend. 

Then they all hurried back to the card-rooms, the 
supper-rooms, and the dancing-hall, and gambled, ate, 
and danced till morning, while all the bands of the army 
were playing and the wine was flowing to celebrate the 
most wonderful general that ever fought a war, and who 
had already accomplished a more extraordinary feat of 
arms than the world had ever known. 

So the conqueror returned with part of the fleet to 
England. Some three thousand Pennsylvania loyalists 
went with him ; and they were best away, for the lives of 
some of them would be in danger if they remained, and 
few if any of them would have become real Americans. 
Howe returned, Walpole said, " richer in money than in 
laurels ;" and another London wit remarked that he had 
no bays except those which drew his coach. But with 
that supreme indifference which characterized him he seems 
to have been entirely satisfied with what he had accom- 
plished. The Tory ministry could not very well move 
against him for being too easy with the rebels, because he 
was their own appointed general, specially commissioned 
to carry out the sword and olive-branch policy. Having 
trusted to his discretion and given him all necessary infor- 
mation, they could not very well assail him for having 


waved the olive-branch to excess. In condemning him 
they would merely be proving their own mistake and play- 
ing into the hands of the Whigs. 

Their disgust and their desire to punish him were ill- 
concealed. Attacks upon him appeared in print in all 
sorts of forms, and he finally asked for a committee of 
inquiry in Parliament. The ministry resisted this inquiry, 
knowing that it was intended as a covert attack upon 
themselves, and would be used to assist the Whigs.* 
Howe, with the assistance of two of his witnesses, Corn- 
wallis and No-Flint Grey, who stood by him manfully, 
certainly succeeded to a considerable degree in turning 
the proceeding to the support of his own party and their 
rallying cry that the American war was impracticable.! 

Cornwallis began his testimony by expressing the highest 
admiration for the military capacity and genius of his 
Mend. He then described America, in a most amusing 
way, as a country of ambuscades at every few yards. It 
was impossible, he said, to learn the nature of the ground, 
either from the inhabitants or by reconnoitring, and it was 
also impossible to get provisions from the country. 

On the question of the failure to assist Burgoyne he was 
brief, vague, and evasive ; and he refused to give an opin- 
ion on any of the military movements. On the vital point 
of Howe's reasons for all his movements he declined to 
answer questions, because, having been Howe's confidential 
officer, it would, he said, be improper for him to reveal to 
Parliament what he had learned in that capacity. 

* Cobbett, " Parliamentary History," vol. xx. pp. 707, 716, 722, 803. 

f The testimony and all the debates connected with the inquiry seem 
to be given in the Parliamentary Register, House of Commons, 1779, 
vol. xiii. A shorter version of the testimony, with the attacks upon 
Howe, which led to the inquiry, was published under the title, U A 
Yiew of the Evidence relative to the Conduct of the War under Sir 
W. Ho we, "etc. 


When the dashing prisoner-killer, No-Flint Grey, was 
called he also described America as a horrible net-work of 
ambuscades. He had not the slightest hesitation in giv- 
ing his opinion on any subject. He defended the failure 
to assist Burgoyne, and spent considerable time in showing 
that it was utterly impossible for the largest force Howe 
might have had to pass from New York up to Albany. 
He impaired the value of his testimony by being too will- 
ing a witness and making sweeping assertions. He said 
that there were scarcely any loyalists in America, and that 
the people were practically unanimous in favor of the re- 
bellion. "When asked about Valley Forge, he said that 
the rebels were in such large force there that it was impos- 
sible to attack them. 

Then Lord George Germain, who was hot with indigna- 
tion against Howe, called General Robertson and Galloway, 
who contradicted all that Cornwallis and Grey had said. 
General Robertson was an old Scotchman who had risen 
from the ranks, had served in the French War, and was very 
familiar with the colonies. He had. been one of Howe's 
subordinates, had been barrack-master at New York, and 
afterwards military governor of New York, in which offices 
he gained a very unsavory reputation for having made 
money by the irregular and fraudulent practices which were 
so common. His testimony, as well as that of Galloway, 
was, however, very clear and intelligent. They described the 
country very much as we know it, denied the ambuscades, 
said it was easy enough to reconnoitre, that there was no 
difficulty in procuring information, and Robertson explained 
how Burgoyne could have been saved by an expedition up 
the Hudson with a simultaneous attack upon New England. 

Other minor witnesses were called ; but nothing definite 
was accomplished, and the committee made no report. 
Howe's defence was published as his "Narrative," and 


Galloway criticised it with considerable severity in his 
"Letters to a Nobleman on the Conduct of the War." 
Howe replied in his " Observations ;" and Galloway again 
assailed him in " A Eeply to the Observations of Lieu- 
tenant-General Sir W. Howe." This last attack seems to 
have been the severest and most detailed arraignment of 
Howe that was published. Galloway openly accused him 
of being in league with a large section of the Whigs to let 
the rebellion go by default and give America independence. 

Howe's " Narrative" is a most remarkable explanation. 
By means of vague general statements he gives the impres- 
sion that the rebel forces always outnumbered his. If we 
can believe him, the American continent was swarming with 
vast hordes of rebels, which almost every hour were threat- 
ening the destruction of his little army, which the ministry 
would not reinforce. It was wonderful that he had main- 
tained liimself unannihilated for three years. 

When he gives numbers he gives his own force by leaving 
out all the officers; but in counting the rebel force he 
adds officers and imaginary privates without limit. For 
example, at Brandywine, where he had 18,000 and Wash- 
ington 11,000, he says he had only 14,000, but that Wash- 
ington had "about fifteen thousand, exclusive of almost 
any number he pleased of militia." 

By a similar vague statement he makes it appear that 
the rebel forces in the year 1777 were fifty thousand, 
because the Congress had voted to raise that number. He 
complains on almost every page that the reinforcements 
he was continually asking for, with which to meet these 
vast innumerable hordes, were not furnished him. How, 
then, could he be expected to put down such a rebellion ? 

The question might be asked how it happened, when the 
rebels were so numerous and dangerous, and his army was 
so small, that he placed two small outposts of fifteen 


hundred men each at Trenton and Bordentown, fifty miles 
away from his main army at New York ? 

He describes the natural difficulties of the country, the 
opportunities for ambuscades, and the heat of the weather 
as insurmountable obstacles. If he had not always taken 
the greatest care in not going too near the vast masses of 
rebels, and in not letting them come near him, there would 
have been the greatest hazard to the king's troops. But 
he had always protected his army from the slightest check. 
His plan had been to keep his army intact ; keep up the 
show of force and conciliate the rebels rather than run 
serious risks or resort to acts of severity. 

He attached great importance to his taking of Phila- 
delphia, and has much to say on the importance of manoeu- 
vring and occupying large towns rather than of destroying 
armies, although he admits in one passage that " the defeat 
of the rebel army is the surest road to peace." * 

He took up again his old occupation in Parliament and 
joined heart and hand with the Whigs to prove more and 
more the impracticability of the American war and to crip- 
ple the administration of Lord North. Within three or four 
years, aided by the mistakes of Cornwallis, who returned 
to America, the Whigs were triumphantly successful, and, 
once more in power and office, they made, in 1783, a treaty 
of peace with the patriots, granting them independence. 

Howe afterwards held important military offices, but 
never again took part in active war. He lived to the ripe 
age of eighty-five, dying in 1814, so that he saw the second 
war for independence, and his brother's old friends obtain 
their independence on the ocean as well as on the land. 

* For further criticisms on Howe, see "A Letter to the People of 
America," p. 63, London, 1778; "Strictures on the Philadelphia 
Mischianza, or Triumph on leaving America Unconquered," Lon- 
don, 1779; Stevens, " Fac-similes of MSB., 11 vol. i. pp. 81, 82. 




HOWE'S successor, General Sir Henry Clinton, was about 
forty years old, with much, less military experience than 
Howe, but of good ability. He intended to put down the 
rebellion in true Tory fashion ; he had instructions to that 
effect ; and he knew how to do it. If he had had Howe's 
large army and opportunities he would have undoubtedly 
altered the course of history. "With France against him 
his task was very difficult and seemed almost impossible ; 
but he came within an ace of succeeding. 

The alliance of France with the patriots had completely 
changed the situation. England could no longer concen- 
trate large forces on the colonies, could no longer furnish 
the enormous army she had given Howe. Her military 
and naval forces during the next three years were scattered 
all over the world to resist France and protect the island 
of England from invasion. While we must confine our- 
selves in this volume to the details of the struggle in 
America, the vast extent of the European conflict in which 
the patriot party had been so lucky as to involve England 
must be carefully borne in mind. 

England had to protect herself with a large fleet and 
army in the West Indies ; where, in spite of all her ex- 
ertions, the French took from her the islands of Granada 
and St. Vincent, and seriously threatened Jamaica. The 
great British stronghold of Gibraltar was besieged, the 
settlements in Senegambia captured and an invasion of 
England threatened in the summer of 1779. To save her- 
self from complete overthrow and ruin, she was obliged to 


maintain for those three years a very large force scattered 
in various parts of the world. But of these she could spare 
for Clinton, as he bitterly complained in his " Narrative," 
only a third the force she had given Howe ; and with this 
reduced force he was expected to conquer the country from 
Boston to Charleston. In numbers he was at times superior 
to his enemy, and always superior in discipline, supplies, 
and the resources of a powerful and long-established nation. 

Clinton could undertake no extensive military opera- 
tions or grand movements. The great strategic plan of 
controlling the whole line of the Hudson and cutting the 
colonies in twain must be abandoned. The two extreme 
ends of that line, Canada and the city of New York, could 
be easily held, and that was all that could be done. In 
short, so far as operations in the colonies were concerned, a 
totally new system must be adopted. 

Tarleton, in his narrative of this period of the war, tells 
us that he and some other military men believed that 
England should withdraw her force from the colonies and 
concentrate her whole power in crushing France alone, 
especially in the "West Indies. This policy was also 
recommended to the ministry by Lord Amherst,* and ap- 
parently on the principle that if France were completely 
driven from the field the patriot party could be easily 
tired out, and the peaceful surrender of the colonies would 
soon follow as matter of course. 

There was undoubtedly something to be said in favor of 
this plan ; but the plan adopted was to keep up the war at 
every point. The rebel colonists evidently could not take 
either New York or Canada. They could restrict the 
operations of the British army, but they could not drive it 
out of America ; and it was doubtful if the French could 

* Bancroft, "History of the "United States," edition of 1886, vol. 
v. p. 282. 



do so much as that. New York and Canada must there- 
fore be held ; and from them predatory expeditions could 
be sent out to all parts of the rebel colonies. British 
wealth and resources could keep this method going for 
years, and it would eventually wear out the rebels, whose 
numbers were few and whose resources were limited. A 
peace of some sort, more or less favorable to the mother- 
country, would be eventually concluded. 

This plan seems to have been essentially a sound one ; 
more conservative than the plan mentioned by Tarleton 
and involving less risk. It worked very much as was 
expected, and came very near to being successful. All 
history shows that a patriot army like "Washington's, living 
from hand to mouth, with no power to punish desertion or 
force enlistments, cannot in the long run endure the steady 
grinding process of a regular military establishment backed 
by a rich nation which considers it worth while to stand 
out to the end. 

Before this plan was put in operation and a new method 
of warfare adopted, the ministry resolved to make oi^e 
supreme effort for conciliation and a peace which would 
preserve America as some sort of dependency of Great 
Britain, even if attached by a very slender thread. 

An act of Parliament was passed appointing commis- 
sioners, who spent the summer from June to October, 1778, 
in the colonies. By this same act the tea tax and the act 
changing the government of Massachusetts were repealed, 
the right of raising revenue from the colonies was re- 
nounced, and the commissioners were empowered to sus- 
pend the operation of any other act passed since 1763 and 
proclaim pardon and amnesty, 

In other words, complete independence from Parliament 
was offered, and the colonies could live merely under " the 
king alone," as all their documents had said was the dearest 


wish of their hearts. According to an English pamphlet * 
of this time, it was the intention to allow the colonies their 
own army and navy, Great Britain retaining the right of 
declaring peace or war with foreign powers; but every 
other sovereign power was to remain with the Congress of 
the colonies. Under the terms of this new offer, the colo- 
nies could have obtained far more independence than 
Canada, Australia, or any British colony now has, or has 
any prospect of obtaining, an independence under a pro- 
tectorate or suzerainty just short of absolute indepen- 

Some of the Whigs, especially the Duke of Richmond, 
Fox, and some of the followers of Lord Rockingham, were 
in favor of absolute independence, because it would settle 
the question at once, save expense, and an independent 
America would trade with England as much as, if not more 
than, colonial America had traded. The mass of the 
Whigs, however, could not very well object to the new 
Tory peace proposals, for they were the same that Whigs 
had often urged. But they were sorry to see the Tories 
taking the wind out of the Whig sails. Old Lord Chat- 
ham, who, however much he favored the Americans, was 
always forious at the thought of their being allowed inde- 
pendence, denounced the new proposals. He was carried 
into the House of Lords to make against the proposed peace 
the last speech of his life. At the close of his speech he 
fell fainting into his seat. His favor to the Americans 
did not extend so far as such a peace as that. He wanted 
the colonies to remain subservient dependencies, real 

* "An Examination into the Conduct of the Present Administra- 
tion," etc., p. 54, London, 1779. 

f It is not likely that England has ever made such a strong effort to 
"bring ahout a peace, See the elaborate discussion and preparation of 
the instructions for the commissioners, in Stevens, "Fac-similes of 
MSS.," vols. iv., xi., xii., and parts of i. and v. 


colonies, so that from his oration on this occasion we do 
not prepare quotations for our school-boys to recite. 

Charles Lee, Arnold, and other patriots tinged with 
loyalism were in favor of accepting this very liberal offer 
of peace; and Gates wished for a conference with the com- 
missioners. But the majority of the patriot party rejected 
the offer with derision, which shows how absurd it Is to 
pretend that they had not wanted absolute independence 
and that it was forced upon them by England. Here was 
complete " redress of grievances" offered them, the very 
redress they had asked for when it was impolitic to use the 
word independence, and now they would not take it. The 
Congress were so confident of the temper of the patriot 
party that they freely circulated the printed peace proposals 
which were ridiculed and publicly burnt by the patriots. 

The peace negotiation having failed, the commissioners 
announced that now the character of the war would 
change. Devastation, fire and sword, and the merciless 
vengeance, which some of the loyalists had already called 
for, would be wreaked upon the rebel country. In the 
early part of the war under Howe, they said, the Eng- 
lish army went through your country with the greatest 
forbearance, because it was expected that we should soon 
be sitting once more with you under the shade of the 
same vine. We raised no contributions, destroyed no 
docks or storehouses, quitted Boston and Philadelphia 
without injury, leaving large stores behind. We treated 
you as children and friends under a temporary separation. 
But now, as you have allied yourself with France, our 
hereditary and bitterest enemy, we shall treat you as a 
foreign enemy, as strangers to our blood, and we shall 
inflict upon you all the severities of war. 

There was, of course, an outburst of Whig eloquence in 
Parliament against the cruelty of this proclamation; the 


barbarity of devastation and slaughter to be inflicted on 
English people who were to be tortured, killed, and robbed 
in order to make them affectionate colonists.* 

The proclamation was issued October 3, 1778. But 
meantime, before we describe how it was carried out ; we 
must get Clinton out of Philadelphia, where Howe had 
left him. The farce of occupying that town could no 
longer be kept up ? especially in view of the new policy 
of severity. 

To leave Philadelphia and enter New York in safety 
was, however, no longer the child's play such movements 
had been to Howe with a large army and numerous trans- 
ports and men-of-war. Clinton's army was much reduced 
in size, and while its numbers are uncertain it was prob- 
ably barely ten thousand men.f Washington, with his 
usual advantage of spring and summer recruiting, had now 
about eleven thousand. The king appears to have wanted 
Clinton to go to New York by sea, which would seem to 
be the safest method, but for some reason he declined that 
plan. He decided to march his force straight across New 
Jersey; and he tells us, though without making it at all 
clear, that by doing this he saved both his army and the 

This crossing New Jersey with his reduced force was a 
somewhat daring project, and his masterly accomplishment 
of it won him considerable applause in Europe. His first 
difficulty would be in evacuating Philadelphia and cross- 
ing the Delaware, which would give Washington what was 

* Cobbett, Parliamentary History," vol. xx. pp. 1, 830, 836, 851. 

f Magazine of American History, vol. ii. p. 407. Bancroft says 
that Clinton had 17,000, "but Clinton says in his MS. notes that the 
Philadelphia army had recently been reduced by 12,000, which would 
have left him ratherless than 10,000. MS* notes to Stedman's * * Ameri- 
can "War," vol. ii. p. 6. 

J Notes to Stedman, vol* ii. p. 20 


considered at that time the great advantage of attacking 
an army in the act of crossing a large river. His next 
difficulty would be his long march in hot weather through 
the Jersey sand, with his army and great baggage-train 
strung out in a long line offering a tempting opportunity 
for a side attack. 

If he escaped this danger, how was he to get his ten 
thousand men into New York, which was surrounded with 
wide bodies of water ? If he went straight towards New 
York, as the Pennsylvania Railroad now goes, he would 
become involved in the Earitan River and its marshes, 
and beyond the Raritan were other rivers and bodies of 
water. Washington might crowd him into these marshes, 
and, summoning a larger force of militia from all over the 
country, succeed in Burgoyning him.* 

The first step of crossing the Delaware gave him no 
trouble. He placed three regiments on the Jersey side. 
The main body of his army marched down into the level 
neck of land south of the city at about three o'clock in 
the morning of June 18, crossed over to Gloucester by ten 
A.M., and he was soon on his way through the sand accom- 
panied by a large number of loyalists who intended to 
leave the country. The fleet containing General Howe and 
other loyalists immediately dropped down the river, part 
of the fleet going to England and the rest going with Admi- 
ral Howe to New York to help Clinton get into the town. 

Washington meantime had gone up to his favorite cross- 
ing place, CoryelPs Ferry, some miles above Trenton, and, 
as Clinton marched across Jersey, Washington was also 
crossing it, inclining towards Clinton; so that the two 
armies must inevitably meet. The British, as usual, had 
an immense quantity of baggage strung out in a line eight 
or twelve miles long. A great deal of it belonged to the 

* Clinton's notes to Stedman, vol. ii. p. 17. 


loyalists and the rest no doubt was composed of the elabo- 
rate toilet articles, innumerable suits of clothes, bath-tubs, 
and sporting implements of the officers. The heat was so 
intense that the heavily clad and heavily loaded regulars 
were sinking from exhaustion, and, many of them were 
found dead beside the springs and streams. Modern critics 
have inclined to the opinion that it was a rare chance for 
Washington to strike a terrible blow ; but Washington and 
his officers, according to the account given by Lafayette, 
did not think that there was much to be gained by a 

The two armies drew together at Monmouth, not far 
from the sea-coast, and Washington saw his chance in a 
sudden early morning attack on a day when the heat regis- 
tered ninety-six degrees in the shade. The battle which 
now took place is involved in some confusion. Washing- 
ton expected a victory, and possibly might have had one ; 
but George III. had wisely abstained from hanging that 
great military genius, General Charles Lee. He had 
shrewdly allowed him to be exchanged, and here he was, 
second in command to Washington, who still had full con- 
fidence in him. 

He was given the honor of leading the attack, and at 
first declined under the pretence that such an attack was 
useless. He seems to have been influenced, as Lafayette 
reports, by the thought that the recent peace proposals 
might be accepted, and there was no need of risking a 
battle. Afterwards, when he saw the attack was to be 
made by Lafayette, he asked for the command of it, and it 
was given to him. He went forward as if with the full 
intention of carrying out the orders ; but at the critical 
moment, with everything, as some have supposed, in his 

* Lafayette, "Memoirs," vol. i. p. 51; Pennsylvania Magazine of 
History, vol. ii. p. 140. 


favor, lie retreated. The British turned upon him ; and 
were inflicting a severe loss, when Washington rushed to 
the rescue and with difficulty prevented a disaster. It was 
one of those occasions when Washington lost control of 
his passionate nature, and he cursed Lee as only he could 
curse. General Scott, who heard it, declared that in all 
his life he had never heard such oaths. "Yes, sir, he 
swore till the leaves shook on the trees , . . he swore like 
an angel from heaven."* 

On the other hand, English officers thought that Lee 
did all that could have been done, and that the Americans 
got off easily. Clinton's account of the battle agrees pre- 
cisely with the account given by Lee. Both sides claimed 
a victory. Washington, whose eyes were now opened, had 
an unpleasant controversy with Lee, who was court-mar- 
tialled and suspended from command for a year. He 
fought a duel with Laurens, one of Washington's aides, 
and when he wrote a sneering letter to the Congress was 
expelled from the patriot army, and henceforth associated 
with loyalists, among whom he rightfully belonged. It 
was strongly suspected that his conduct at Monmouth was 
intended to bring disaster upon the patriot army or on 
Washington.f Lee, as next in rank, might have taken 
command with an opportunity as head of the army to 
suggest a compromise peace on the basis of the British 
proposals just offered, which would have established his 
fortunes and reputation in English society. 

Neither side gained anything by Monmouth. Washing- 
ton's chance, if he had one, was gone. Clinton got into 
New York in a most clever way. He kept clear of the 
Earitan and its marshes, and marched out on Sandy Hook, 
where the fleet took care of him and transported his troops 

* Pennsylvania Magazine of History, vol. ii. p. 141. 
f Hamilton, "Works, Lodge edition, vol. vii. p. 29. 



into New York. His praises were sung in England and 
Europe. His retreat with his ten thousand was compared 
to the retreat of Xenophon and his ten thousand Greeks 
from Babylon to the sea. The Earitan was the Euphrates 
and the sand-hills of Jersey were the mountains of Car- 

"Washington took possession of the Hudson Highlands, 
which he began to fortify strongly, so as to prevent any 
movement from New York to seize that famous strategic 
point. He held the middle of the strategic line to Canada 
and the British the two ends. 

It was now a question of tricks, artifices, treachery, and 
endurance. The loyalists and the English were hopeful ; 
many Americans were becoming heartily sick of the an- 
archy, confusion, and lawlessness in the country ; the hope- 
lessly depreciated paper money, the stagnation and ruin of 
all legitimate business, the weakness and inefficiency of the 
Congress as a governing body, the selfishness and supposed 
corruption of many of its members, the danger that the 
country, unable to govern itself, would fall into the hands 
of France. 

At this point, on the 8th of July, the French fleet of 
eighteen war vessels, under Count d'Estaing, and a force of 
four thousand French soldiers, arrived off New York. A 
plan was formed to attack Clinton in New York, but it 
had to be abandoned, principally because several of 
Estaing's ships were of too deep a draft for the water on 
the bar. The chances for the Americans to maintain an 
aggressive war seemed not to be increased by the alliance 
with France. 

One more effort, however, was made. Newport was 
still held by the British for the reason, as already shown, 

* " Thoughts OIL the Present War," etc., London, 1783; Magazine 
of American History, vol. ii. p. 407 j vol. iii. p. 355. 


that it was the most convenient refuge harbor on the coast 
after Halifax. It would be a great event for the patriots 
to take it. The New England militia were collected to the 
number of about 7500. "Washington sent 1500, and the 
4000 French troops on the fleet made a force of 13,000. 
The plan was for the Americans to land on the east side of 
the island, the French on the west, and intervene between 
the town of Newport and the garrison on Butts Hill on 
the northern part of the island. 

General Pigot, who, with Howe, had led the charge at 
Bunker Hill, commanded at Newport, and, seeing the de- 
sign of the Americans, he withdrew his force from Butts 
Hill and concentrated in the town. Sullivan, in command 
of the Americans, immediately took possession of Butts 
Hill, but the French could do nothing against the town, 
and the next day Admiral Howe was sighted with a fleet of 
British war-vessels. 

Estaing immediately sailed out to meet him, and Ad- 
miral Howe nearly had a battle. For two days the fleets 
manoeuvred for the weather-gage, when a terrific storm, 
amounting almost to a tornado, arose, scattering both the 
fleets over the ocean, and when it had ceased each sought a 
refuge to refit, 

Estaing returned to Newport, abandoned the attack, 
and, taking the four thousand French troops on board, went 
to Boston to repair his vessels. Many of the New England 
militia disbanded in disgust, and it looked as if France, 
whatever she might do in absorbing England's attention 
elsewhere, would not be able to give much active assistance 
to the patriot army. Pigot attacked Sullivan on Butts 
Hill and was repulsed with severe loss. But the next day 
Sullivan had to abandon his position and retreat to the 
main-land, for Clinton was hurrying from New York with 
five thousand men. 


But although the patriots themselves were becoming less 
and less able to keep up anything resembling aggressive 
war, the aid of France was telling on their enemy. The 
French fleet, as soon as it could refit in Boston, went to the 
"West Indies to threaten the British possessions there, and 
immediately five thousand of Clinton's men were with- 
drawn and sent to help protect the West Indies. In the 
autumn of this year, 1778, Clinton felt himself so much 
weakened that he abandoned the garrison at Newport and 
concentrated his whole force in New York, which was now 
the only place held by the British in the rebellious colonies. 
Washington was also so much weakened that he could only 
hold himself in a sort of half-circle above New York and 
watch his antagonist. 

The wearing down of the patriots by relentless severity, 
which the peace commissioners threatened when their nego- 
tiations failed, began before they left the country, and, in 
fact, soon after their arrival in June, 1778. The alliance of 
the rebel colonists with France was considered as having re- 
moved all reason for scrupulousness or restraint. In July 
of that year there was a terrible raid made into the 
Wyoming Valley of Northern Pennsylvania by the loyalists 
and Indians of Central New York. There was an heroic 
resistance by a handful of old men and boys, but it was 
quickly overcome by the larger force of loyalists, British, 
and Indians. The resisting force of settlers was pursued 
and butchered without mercy, the fort set on fire, the pris- 
oners thrown into the flames and held down with pitch- 
forks, or arranged in a circle and slaughtered by the toma- 
hawk of the Indian Queen Esther. 

When night came fires were kindled and the remaining 
prisoners chased, naked, back and forth through the flames 
until they fell exhausted and were consumed. Many of 
the women and children who tried to escape eastward to 


the Hudson River perished in the forests and swamps, and 
the invading force went through the neighboring country 
burning every house, and shooting and scalping every 
human being that could be found, and working, in short, 
that complete devastation which the British in former 
years had used for breaking the independent spirit of 
Ireland, and which the loyalists had been calling for as the 
only method that would save the American colonies for the 
British empire.* 

This was the first use of the Indians by the British. 
Howe would not use them, and the whole Whig party 
were unalterably opposed to their use. But the real typ- 
ical British Tory was loose at last.f It was no longer a 
half Whig repression of the rebellion. The patriot leaders, 
who had feared that their followers would grow lukewarm 
for want of British atrocities under Howe, had now enough 
and to spare. There was another raid into the Cherry 
Valley of New York, men, women, and children slaugh- 
tered, and the settlement wiped out of existence. The 
whole northern frontier was for months deluged in blood 
and murders which were not checked until, in the follow- 
ing year, 1779, Washington sent Sullivan with a force of 
three thousand, which broke forever the power of the Six 
Nations and the loyalists of Central New York. 

In the autumn of 1778, Clinton, in pursuance of the 
wearing-down policy, sent No-Flint Grey to raid the New 
England coast. He swept Martha's Vineyard, New Bed- 
ford, and Fair Haven with fire and sword, and destroyed 

* " The Making of Pennsylvania/ ' p. 282. 

f The use of the Indians was defended by the Tories on the familiar 
ground of necessity and as being in the end no more cruel than other 
warfare. All real war, it was said, was devastation and destruction, 
and the quickest and shortest methods were the best. " An Impartial 
Sketch of the Various Indulgences granted by Great Britain," etc., 
pp. 35-40, London, 1778. 


all the shipping in the harbors. On his return he cap- 
tured Baylor's troop of Virginia cavalry at Old Tappan 
on the Hudson, and killed a large number of the pris- 

Soon afterwards, on October 15, Captain Ferguson made 
a dash at Egg Harbor and the neighborhood near what is 
now Tuckerton, on the coast of New Jersey* Admiral 
Howe had allowed this inlet from the sea to go un- 
blockaded, and the patriot commerce and a swarm of 
thirty or more small privateering craft, which watched 
for British merchant vessels bound to New York, found 
it a good refuge. The admiral had been content with 
keeping them out of New York and Delaware Bay. But 
by way of Egg Harbor they could send cargoes up the 
Mullica Creek to within thirty-five miles of Philadelphia 
by land. 

Ferguson was an officer in a British rifle company, had 
interested himself in introducing the rifle in the army, and 
is said to have invented a breech-loader. His raid on Egg 
Harbor was most successful. He penetrated up into Mul- 
lica Creek, destroying valuable property, and at night sur- 
prised Pulaski's Legion, where there was another slaugh- 
tering of prisoners.f 

In the same autumn of 1778 Clinton also sent Colonel 
Campbell with 3500 regulars from New York to Georgia, 
where they easily defeated the 1200 militia of the patriots, 
and on December 29 took Savannah, and soon afterwards 
Augusta. The British General Prevost advanced at the 

* Stryker, " The Massacre near Old Tappan." 

f Stryker, " The Affair at Egg Harbor." There was a great deal 
of prisoner-killing committed "by the British during the last years of 
the war. The fight at Hancock's Bridge in New Jersey afforded 
another instance of it, and prisoners and non-combatants were most 
mercilessly slaughtered when the Southern colonies were invaded. 
See, also, Magazine of American History, vol. xi. p. 275, note. 


same time from Florida and took Sunbury ; so that Georgia 
was declared to be out of revolt and in the peace of the 
king.* The troops were indulged in indiscriminate plun- 
der; the prisoners treated with merciless severity, and most 
of the patriots who did not escape to the mountains saved 
themselves by taking the British oath of allegiance, which 
they afterwards considered themselves justified in breaking. 

In the hope of checking this British progress in the 
South, General Lincoln was sent to Charleston, But 
South Carolina was so much in dread of a rising among 
her slaves that the local militia would render him no 
assistance. He obtained 2000 militia from North Caro- 
lina, and, the British having been repulsed in an attack on 
Port Royal, Lincoln, at the end of February, 1779, sent 
Ashe with 1500 men to invade Georgia. The British 
retired from Augusta, and when Ashe unwisely followed 
them they turned upon him, inflicting a terrible loss and 
killing and capturing over one thousand of his men. 

In April Lincoln again invaded Georgia, and Prevost 
promptly invaded South Carolina, desolating the country, 
burning houses, crops, food supplies of every kind, 
slaughtering cattle, horses, and even dogs, and leaving 
such a desert that over a thousand slaves died of famine. 
Prevost, however, could not take Charleston, and was 
obliged to return to Georgia. 

In that same spring of 1779, while this work was going 
on in Georgia and Carolina, Clinton sent General Matthews 
to Virginia, which had been undisturbed for a long time 
and was producing a great deal of tobacco. He sacked 
and burned Norfolk and Portsmouth, shot down unarmed 
citizens, and allowed his soldiers to ravish delicate and 
refined women. He plundered the neighboring country 
and the shores of Chesapeake Bay, destroying over a hun- 
*Cobbett, " Parliamentary History," vol. xx. p. 839. 


dred ships and three hundred thousand hogsheads of to- 
bacco. In July Try on attacked the coast of Connecticut, 
burned the shipping at New Haven and the warehouses 
along the wharves, until he was driven out by the militia. 
The next day he attacked and burned Fairfield, and after- 
wards Green Farms and Nor walk. 

All these severities, heavy, shocking, merciless blows, 
were delivered so as to affect the business and social rela- 
tions of large districts of country. They were delivered 
in districts which had heretofore been free from the in- 
terference of the war, and where the people were enjoying 
a more or less profitable trade. They told severely on 
the patriot cause, and Washington was powerless against 
them. Orators may say that the extreme patriot party 
grew more desperate and determined ; but unfortunately it 
grew smaller. It lost the support of thousands who wished 
it success if it could be successful quickly. These people 
were not willing to fall back beyond the Alleghanies; 
they could not endure destruction of property, annihilation 
of business of every kind, and long years of waiting in 
the midst of universal devastation with nothing at the end 
of it but to go back under England or, as might very 
well happen, become French colonies. It is difficult for 
us now to realize the deplorable state of the country; 
devastated and ruined, with the paper currency sunk so low 
that a bushel of corn cost one hundred and fifty dollars 
and a suit of clothes two thousand dollars. 

This condition of things shows what Howe could have 
done with his large force if he had not, luckily for us, 
been a Whig and unwilling to encourage such raiders as 
Grey, Ferguson, and Matthews. Clinton, within a year 
after he assumed command, and with a force only one- 
third the size of Howe's, and with France fighting Eng- 
land all over the world, was in a fair way to wear down 


the rebellion. He had done more in that year, or even in 
the first six months of it, than Howe had done in three 
years. If he could now stand steadily by his policy, and 
not take great risks, he might in time be given reinforce- 
ments and wear down the patriots still faster. 

At the time Tryon ravaged the coast of Connecticut, in 
July, 1779, "Washington planned an attack on Stony Point, 
on the Hudson. Stony Point was on the right bank of 
the river and, with Verplanck Point opposite, guarded the 
entrance to the Highlands. "Washington had secured these 
two forts when, after the battle of Monmouth, he began 
to settle himself in his position above New York. But 
Clinton came up the river and captured both the forts. It 
was now thought that Stony Point might be retaken as an 
offset to Tryon's raid into Connecticut. 

The attack was intrusted by Washington to General 
Wayne, of Pennsylvania, who, in reply to the request, in- 
stantly said that he would storm hell if Washington would 
prepare the plan. Wayne's command had been massacred 
at Paoli by No-Flint Grey's terrible use of the bayonet. 
Wayne now followed his adversary's method of preventing 
his men firing their muskets, and at midnight of July 
15, 1779, he led twelve hundred patriots, with not a gun 
loaded, across the causeway at low tide and out on to 
Stony Point. They rushed up over the embankments with 
such rapidity that they lost only fifteen killed* Plunging 
in among the British garrison, they killed sixty-three with 
their bayonets, and the rest surrendered. It was one of 
the most heroic feats of the war, and there was no prisoner- 

But Stony Point could not be held. The patriots had 
to abandon it again to Clinton within three or four days. 
The taking of it had been inspiriting, and brought Tryon 
back from his raid into Connecticut ; but it was not of 


permanent value. No real headway could be made against 
Clinton's wearing-out policy. 

About a month after the taking of Stony Point, Light- 
Horse Harry Lee, of Virginia, the father of Robert E. 
Lee, of the Civil War, attacked in the same way the fort 
on Paulus Hook, which was a spit or isthmus of sand at 
the present site of Jersey City. He got into the fort and 
took one hundred and fifty-nine prisoners, but was obliged 
instantly to abandon it, because the British were coming 
to the rescue from New York. 

In September, 1779, Estaing and his French fleet tried 
to help the patriots. He had been fighting the British in 
the West Indies with considerable success. With the 
assistance of General Lincoln he laid siege to Savannah 
for three weeks, until, fearing the coming on of the tornado 
season, he tried to carry the town by assault, only to be 
heavily defeated with the loss of one thousand men, while 
the British lost only fifty-five. He sailed away, was caught 
in a tornado, and his fleet scattered to the West Indies and 
to France. 

Clinton's policy was succeeding to perfection, and he 
now prepared for another stroke. Leaving Knyphausen 
in New York, he sailed with eight thousand men in the 
end of December to Savannah, where, taking some of 
Prevost's troops, he marched overland upon Charleston. 
Lincoln, who commanded the town, should have abandoned 
it and saved his army. Collecting troops in it was merely 
increasing their numbers for a surrender. There was no 
fighting of any consequence, and the town surrendered to 
Clinton May 12, 1780. 

Clinton immediately sent forces which reduced the whole 
of South Carolina to the possession of the British, and an 
incident occurred which shows how important it was to 
pursue the retreating patriots, and why Howe was so care- 



fill to abstain from such pursuits. A Virginia patriot 
corps, commanded by Colonel Buford, was marching down 
to the assistance of Charleston, but, hearing of the sur- 
render, retreated northward. Colonel Tarleton pursued, 
and, although they had a long start, he caught up with 
them and killed or captured them nearly all, putting the 
prisoners to death with the most inhuman atrocity.* 

Clinton placed Cornwallis in charge of South Carolina, 
and he inaugurated a most vigorous system of compel- 
ling the inhabitants to take the British oath of allegiance, 
and also tried to compel them all to take part in re-estab- 
lishing and maintaining the royal supremacy. Thousands 
of patriots took the oath of allegiance, intending to break 
it, as most of them did, at the first opportunity. They 
considered the oath as forced upon them to save their lives 
and property, and therefore not binding on their con- 
sciences. Other patriots took refuge in -the swamps and 
forests of the interior, very much as "Washington had 
feared that the whole patriot party might be obliged to do. 
There was now for a long time a frightful scene of 
anarchy and confusion in South Carolina; with the British 
and loyalists plundering, murdering, and confiscating ; the 
patriots retaliating as best they could; and the British 
officers and hangers-on selling captured skves and rice to 
the West Indies. To break the spirit of the patriots and 
enforce submission, all non-combatants who would not turn 
loyalist were imprisoned and sometimes shot in their own 
houses in the presence of their wives and children ; those 
who broke the oath of allegiance were hanged ; hundreds 
were imprisoned and forced to serve in British ships and 
regiments ; and the prison-ships were such pest-houses that 

* Bancroft, "History of the United States," edition of 1886, vol. v. 
p. 378; Ramsay, "History of the United States," edition of 1816 vol 
ii. p. 324 ' 


three-fourths of those confined in them were quickly de- 
stroyed. The devastation of plantations and homes was 
so complete that the line of a British raid could be traced 
by the groups of women and children once of ample for- 
tune sitting by fires in the woods. All this was done 
under instructions from the ministry sent through Ger- 
main and carried out by Lord Cornwallis, a Whig who 
had voted against the Stamp Act, but who, now that he 
was serving under Clinton with explicit instructions from 
the ministry, had completely changed his character.* 

It was at this time, during the summer of 1780, that 
the patriots, who would not take the oath of allegiance, 
and had retreated to the swamps and mountains of the 
interior, maintained, under Marion, Sumter, Pickens, and 
Williams, that partisan warfare which became so famous. 
Their numbers were insignificant. Their attacking parties 
were as small as twenty and seldom over one hundred. 
But the suddenness of their appearance, the fury of their 
attack, and the swiftness and secrecy of their flight were 
appalling to European soldiers. No small British outpost 
or settlement of loyalists was safe from them, and they 
would even attack a whole column upon the march, slash 
about with their swords made of old saw-blades, shoot 
pewter bullets from their pistols, and escape. They show 
that there was good reason for Burke's warning and the 
anxiety of the ministry and some military men that the 
patriot party, if driven beyond the Alleghanies, would 
become a perpetual terror to British authority on the 

While Marion and Sumter were at their work in the 
summer of 1780, General Gates, the hero of Saratoga, was 
sent to Hillsborough, North Carolina, to collect troops and 

* Bancroft, "History of the United States/ 7 edition of 1886, vol. v. 
pp. 392, 393, 402. 


attack the British in the South. In August with some 
three thousand men, sick from bad food and exhausted by 
the climate, he arrived within fifteen miles of Camden, the 
British stronghold in South Carolina, and was confronted 
by Lord Rawdon's army. Gates, unfortunately, hesitated 
for several days, and meanwhile Rawdon received rein- 
forcements and Oornwallis came up from Charleston and 
took command. The two armies finally met, with swamps 
on the flanks of both sides, so that there could be no 
manoeuvring ; and the promptness and energy with which 
Cornwallis seized and followed up his advantages are in 
curious contrast to his conduct under Howe. 

It was a direct front attack. The patriots were the 
more numerous, and those among them who had had ex- 
perience in fighting fought desperately and gallantly. 
But most of the force was raw militia. The British 
regulars easily overwhelmed them, and, in reversal of the 
policy of Howe, such a vigorous pursuit was made that 
the whole American army was sent flying and scattering, 
and the number of killed and wounded has never been 
ascertained, unless we accept Cornwallis's statement of 
over 1000 killed, 800 prisoners, and all the ammunition, 
baggage, and wagons.* 

Howe had no more than held his own in the North and 
never touched the South. Clinton, with a third of Howe's 
force, held about as much of the North as Howe had held, 
did infinitely more damage to the rebels, and had conquered 
Carolina and Georgia in the South. He secured his hold 
on South Carolina by Charleston and a well-garrisoned 
line of forts and cantonments following the line of the 
Santee River from Georgetown at its mouth to Camden in 
the interior. There seemed to be no reason, if his methods 
were not interfered with, why he could not hold the two 
* Boss, "CornwalHs's Correspondence, 5 ' vol. i. p. 56. 


positions of New York and Carolina indefinitely, wearing 
out the rebel party more and more by small predatory 
expeditions, until they accepted such terms as the ministry 
chose to impose. 

Historians are agreed that this was the darkest hour of 
the Revolution. French officers felt obliged to admit that 
the patriot cause, in spite of the aid they had given it, was 
hopeless. Washington's army had almost disappeared. 
His men deserted to the British in hundreds. Only 
sporadic militia bands could be collected when their own 
neighborhood was attacked. Washington declared that 
such a situation could not last. The French would shortly 
be the only combatants on our side, and if they continued 
fighting altogether in the West Indies and other distant 
places the patriot cause in America would die of sheer 

Lafayette had returned to France in February, 1779, to 
urge upon the French king the importance of sending an 
army directly to America as the only method of checking 
the terrible policy of Clinton, which was ruining the 
patriots. He was successful, and a month before Gates' s 
defeat at Camden Count Rochambeau arrived at Newport 
with a fleet and six thousand troops. 

Clinton and the Tory ministry were, however, equal 
to the occasion. The ministry sent Clinton reinforce- 
ments exactly calculated to offset this French assistance 
and keep up the wearing-out policy, while in other parts 
of the world France was kept at bay with England's fleets 
and armies. 

Clinton, with most soldier-like promptness, started from 
New York with a strong force of men and ships, which 
blockaded the French fleet in Narragansett Bay. Rocham- 
beau had to keep his troops in Newport to support the 
fleet, and there they remained inactive for a year, held 


tight in the grasp of the masterly Clinton, and almost as 
useless to the patriots as though they were still in France. 
The rest of the French army which was coming over was, 
in a similar way, blockaded by a British fleet in the harbor 
of Brest, and never came to America. 

The strain of the situation was increased. The three 
antagonists, England, France, and the patriot party, were, 
so to speak, lying on the ground and holding one another 
down, but unable to fight. The weakest of the three was 
unfortunately the patriot party. It looked as if all the 
cautious careful work of Howe and the Whigs would go 
for naught. Whatever may have been their courage and 
their protestations or determination to persist to the last, 
it is doubtful if there was a single one of our people, not 
even Washington himself, that had in his heart any real 
hope for independence. A bad compromise, more unfavor- 
able than the last one offered by the ministry, was the best 
they could expect. 




FOR more than a year Clinton had been preparing for 
another blow, the most staggering of all. Early in the 
year 1779 he had found that some important American 
officer was secretly communicating with him. Clinton 
continued the correspondence, which was carried on for 
him by his adjutant-general, AndrS, the accomplished 
young Frenchman of Mischianza fame. In the summer 
of 1780, when the French army arrived at Newport and 
Gfates was defeated at Camden, Clinton learned that his 
rebel correspondent had been placed in command of Vest 
Point, the most important patriot fortress on the Hudson 
and the key to the important strategic position for which 
all had been contending, and that he was ready to ar- 
range for surrendering to the British this Gibraltar of the 
patriots, their only stronghold, to fortify which they had 
used their utmost efforts, and which covered all their stores 
of military supplies. 

General Arnold, who was prepared to make this sur- 
render, was in character and temperament a loyalist. 
Nothing is more noticeable in the Revolution than the way 
in which certain types of mind inevitably gravitated to the 
congenial side. Among a large number of the colonists 
one of the strongest motives to loyalism was social ambi- 
tion, the desire either to remain with what was believed 
to be the most conspicuous fashion of the time or the hope 
of some day entering the circle. 

Arnold belonged to an old and respectable Connecticut 


family, which, however, had always been engaged in small 
trade. He was at one time an apothecary. He after- 
wards traded in horses and general merchandise to Canada, 
and took command of his own ship. He was fond of 
horsemanship, in which he excelled, and he was an excel- 
lent marksman with a pistol. These tastes and a per- 
fection of courage and physique which won the admiration 
of both men and women were accompanied by a not 
unnatural passion to enter a sphere of life in which he 
believed he could excel. "When, on his arrival at Quebec 
in 1775, he paraded his little army before the town, it was 
supposed that he was trying to show the people who had 
snubbed him on his trading expeditions that he now had 
the important command of a gentleman.* 

In the beginning of the Revolution we find him quar- 
relling with an officer and knocking him down with his 
fists because " he would not draw like a gentleman." In 
the Canada expedition we are told that his troops admired 
his heroism, and in almost the next sentence we are in- 
formed that he was hated, and numerous quarrels with 
him are described which are quite inexplicable. As he 
passed down to Ticonderoga he had another quarrel with 
a court-martial which rejected the testimony of a witness he 
offered. He protested against this rejection as improper 
and unjust, and as we read his protest there seems to be 
nothing in it out of the way. But the court instantly 
flared up against him, demanded an apology, and showed 
a feeling and indignation which cannot be accounted 
for by anything that Arnold had said. Their violence 
naturally drove him to reply with some force, and, as he 
had done nothing for which to apologize, he intimated his 
willingness to fight duels with them all. About the same 
time he had a quarrel with Colonel Brown, in which we 
* Codman, "Arnold's Expedition to Quebec, ;; p. 150. 


cannot find Arnold particularly in the wrong ; but Brown 
followed him up as if bent on vengeance for some offence 
that does not clearly appear. 

At the same time we find the great dislike for Arnold 
spreading to the Continental Congress. In spite of his 
heroism and his distinguished services they appointed above 
him five junior major-generals, which has universally been 
regarded as an outrageous piece of injustice, and for which 
no reason has ever been given, except that many of the 
patriot party detested him. This extraordinary dislike, 
for which no reason is given, has aroused some comment 
and surprise,* and the explanation appears to be that those 
who came in close contact with Arnold could not endure 
his obvious loyalism and something in his manner, which 
may have been that overbearing and insolent tone which 
the loyalists imitated from the English. 

Prominent men among the patriots, like Washington 
and Grates, shielded Arnold as much as they could, re- 
gretted the apparent injustice that was done him, and tried 
to soften his asperity and indignation, because they would 
not, if they could help it, lose his invaluable services. He 
won such distinction at the battle of Saratoga, and was so 
badly wounded, that Congress was obliged to square ac- 
counts and give him the rank to which he was fully entitled. 

But nothing could stop his inevitable tendency. The 
French alliance, the increasing demoralization of Congress, 
and the increasing anarchy and devastation throughout the 
country made him more of a loyalist than ever. He had 
not been in favor of the Declaration of Independence, al- 
though, as he explained, he had acquiesced in it as a means 
of carrying on the war and obtaining " redress of griev- 
ances," which was all for which, in his opinion, it was 
worth while to fight. After the victory at Saratoga, when 
* Codman, " Arnold's Expedition to Quebec," p. 284. 


the ministry sent out peace commissioners offering complete 
immunity from taxation and freedom from all control of 
Parliament, the very redress which the patriots had origi- 
nally said they wanted, Arnold was of the opinion that 
those terms should be accepted, and that it was not worth 
while for the patriots to pursue the war any further and 
dismember the British empire, with the probability of fall- 
ing into the hands of France. 

When Philadelphia was evacuated by the British in 
June, 1778, Arnold was placed by Washington in com- 
mand of the town, and his real character and opinions 
instantly came out in a strong and conspicuous light. He 
associated exclusively with the loyalists who had spent the 
previous winter with the British army. He became ex- 
travagant in his style of living, and went into extravagant 
and reckless speculations to support it. He showed all the 
usual symptoms of a man whose consuming ambition is 
social position and attention. He quarrelled with all the 
patriot leaders, and it was easy to do that because they 
detested him for the bearing he had assumed among the 
loyalists. They could not endure anything he did, even 
when it happened to be right. He soon became engaged to 
be married to Miss Margaret Shippen, one of the most 
attractive and most prominent of the young loyalist ladies 
who had been so delighted with the visit of the British. It 
was a good marriage for his purpose. Her people were of 
that stripe of loyalists who would not leave the country, 
and yet clung to everything British in the hope that Britain 
would save them from the vulgarism of independence and 
the rights of man on the one hand and the French mon- 
archy on the other. 

It is easy to understand how a man of Arnold's ability 
and force, in chief command of an important town, could, 
from his association with fashionable loyalists, put on an air 


and tone towards Reed, Mifflin, Robert Morris, and other 
patriot leaders that was unbearable, especially when they 
might see in his loyalism a strong tendency to treachery. 
The unbearableness of it is shown by their desperate at- 
tempts to get rid of him, drive him out of the army, and 
ruin him, without giving any strong or reasonable ground 
for their action. 

They charged him with improperly admitting a ship into 
port, with using public wagons for carrying private prop- 
erty, of having improperly allowed people to enter the 
enemy's lines, of having improperly bought off a law- 
suit, of having imposed menial offices on patriots, and of 
having improperly made purchases for his private benefit. 
They laid these charges before the Congress and sent 
them broadcast all over the country to the governors and 
legislatures with a purpose which is obvious. 

Arnold demanded an investigation, and the committee of 
the Congress which was appointed found all the charges 
groundless except granting the pass and using the public 
wagons ; and as in these two instances there appeared no 
wrongful intent, they acquitted him of all the charges. 
Arnold now resigned from the army and soon after mar- 
ried Miss Shippen. But Reed and the others who had 
been in close contact with him in Philadelphia would not 
relent. They brought the subject again before the Con- 
gress, which recommended a trial by court-martial. The 
court-martial was appointed and made the same decision as 
the committee, except that it recommended that Arnold be 
reprimanded, because in the matter of the pass and the 
wagons, which were used to save private property from the 
enemy, while entirely guiltless of a wrong intent, he had 
been somewhat imprudent. 

The reprimand was evidently intended as a sort of com- 
promise which would partially satisfy Arnold's persecutors, 


check their further proceedings, and save Arnold's services 
for the patriot army. "Washington delivered the reprimand 
with the greatest gentleness and forbearance. 

But Arnold had now been for some time preparing to do 
what thousands of loyalists would have been glad to do if 
they had possessed Arnold's unscrupulousness. He was 
determined by one fell stroke to stop the war, preserve the 
integrity of the British empire, put loyalism and loyalists in 
the ascendant, and give himself imperishable renown and 
an exalted station in England. 

In July, 1780, he applied to Washington for the com- 
mand of West Point, and it was at once and gladly given 
to him. The events of that summer the ruinous defeat 
of Gates at Camden and the locking up of one French 
army in Newport and another in Brest were particularly 
favorable to his purposes. There was every human prob- 
ability that the surrender of West Point with its three 
thousand men, leading inevitably to the breaking up of 
Washington's whole position in the Hudson Highlands, 
would end the patriot cause. 

Arnold seems to have timed his blow so as to follow 
closely upon the disaster to Gates in the South. In Sep- 
tember he and Andr6 were preparing the last details of 
iheir plan, and on the night of September 21 they 
arranged for a final meeting. Andr came up the Hudson 
in the British warship " Vulture/' and Arnold sent to the 
"Vulture" a boat in charge of Joshua Smith, a lawyer of 
means and prominence who lived in that region, and one 
of the numerous persons who were not quite sure whether 
they were patriots or loyalists. The boat, by the testimony 
of both Arnold and the captain of the " Vulture," carried 
a flag of truce. Andr6, however, said it carried no flag 
when he returned in it. 

The boat took John Anderson, as AndrS had been 


called in the correspondence, to a thicket of trees on the 
river shore, about four miles below Stony Point, where he 
met Gustavus, as Arnold was called. Andr was in his 
uniform and wore a light cloak or overcoat. 

Here we see the first slip in this most important plan 
of Clinton to end the war, this plan of most extraordinary 
luck and accidents. Andr6, an attractive, fresh-faced young 
Anglo-Frenchman, of pretty accomplishments and parlor 
tricks, could superintend Mischianza tournaments and fire- 
works or write clever verses, but he was unfit for this ter- 
rible enterprise with Arnold. It was a mistake for him to go 
ashore. He could have arranged everything with Arnold 
from the "Vulture" by taking more time or compelling 
Arnold to come on board. The captain of the " Vulture" 
tried to restrain his impatience and dissuade him from going 
on shore, but to no purpose. 

The arrangements of the details of the surrender in the 
shadow of the thicket consumed the whole night, and as 
daylight appeared the boatmen refused to take the risk of 
a return to the " Vulture." Andr6 was persuaded to walk 
about a mile up the shore to the house of Joshua Smith, 
and there he and Arnold took their breakfast. 

While they were eating, the " Vulture" was fired upon by 
Colonel Livingston's battery on the other side of the river 
and forced to fall down the stream, which was another 
accident unfavorable to Clinton and his plans. After 
breakfast Arnold returned in his barge to his head-quarters, . 
having first given to Andr papers describing the forti- 
fications, the signals to be given by the approaching British 
force, and the method of sudden and unexpected surrender. 
These papers Andr6 concealed in his stockings and waited 
at Smith's house all day. 

When night came Smith thought it unsafe to try to take 
Andr6 in a boat to the " Vulture." He offered to take him 


check their further proceedings, and save Arnold's services 
for the patriot army. "Washington delivered the reprimand 
with the greatest gentleness and forbearance. 

But Arnold had now been for some time preparing to do 
what thousands of loyalists would have been glad to do if 
they had possessed Arnold's unscrupulousness. He was 
determined by one fell stroke to stop the war, preserve the 
integrity of the British empire, put loyalism and loyalists in 
the ascendant, and give himself imperishable renown and 
an exalted station in England. 

In July, 1780, he applied to Washington for the com- 
mand of West Point, and it was at once and gladly given 
to him. The events of that summer the ruinous defeat 
of Gates at Camden and the locking up of one French 
army in Newport and another in Brest were particularly 
favorable to his purposes. There was every human prob- 
ability that the surrender of West Point with its three 
thousand men, leading inevitably to the breaking up of 
Washington's whole position in the Hudson Highlands, 
would end the patriot cause. 

Arnold seems to have timed his blow so as to follow 
closely upon the disaster to Gates in the South. In Sep- 
tember he and Andr6 were preparing the last details of 
their plan, and on the night of September 21 they 
arranged for a final meeting. Andr6 came up the Hudson 
in the British warship " Vulture," and Arnold sent to the 
"Vulture" a boat in charge of Joshua Smith, a lawyer of 
means and prominence who lived in that region, and one 
of the numerous persons who were not quite sure whether 
they were patriots or loyalists. The boat, by the testimony 
of both Arnold and the captain of the " Vulture," carried 
a flag of truce. AndrS, however, said it carried no flag 
when he returned in it. 

The boat took John Anderson, as Andr6 had been 


called in the correspondence, to a thicket of trees on the 
river shore, about four miles below Stony Point, where he 
met Gustavus, as Arnold was called. Andr6 was in his 
uniform and wore a light cloak or overcoat. 

Here we see the first slip in this most important plan 
of Clinton to end the war, this plan of most extraordinary 
luck and accidents. AndrS, an attractive, fresh-faced young 
Anglo-Frenchman, of pretty accomplishments and parlor 
tricks, could superintend Mischianza tournaments and fire- 
works or write clever verses, but he was unfit for this ter- 
rible enterprise with Arnold. It was a mistake for him to go 
ashore. He could have arranged everything with Arnold 
from the " Vulture" by taking more time or compelling 
Arnold to come on board. The captain of the " Vulture" 
tried to restrain his impatience and dissuade him from going 
on shore, but to no purpose. 

The arrangements of the details of the surrender in the 
shadow of the thicket consumed the whole night, and as 
daylight appeared the boatmen refused to take the risk of 
a return to the " Vulture." Andr6 was persuaded to walk 
about a mile up the shore to the house of Joshua Smith, 
and there he and Arnold took their breakfast. 

While they were eating, the " Vulture" was fired upon by 
Colonel Livingston's battery on the other side of the river 
and forced to fall down the stream, which was another 
accident unfavorable to Clinton and his plans. After 
breakfast Arnold returned in his barge to his head-quarters, . 
having first given to Andr6 papers describing the forti- 
fications, the signals to be given by the approaching British 
force, and the method of sudden and unexpected surrender. 
These papers Andr6 concealed in his stockings and waited 
at Smith's house all day. 

When night came Smith thought it unsafe to try to take 
Andr6 in a boat to the " Vulture." He offered to take him 


by land all the way to New York, and Andrg reluctantly 
consented. He disguised himself in some of Smith's 
clothes, crossed the ferry to the east side of the Hudson, 
and in company with Smith pursued his way on horseback 
towards the British lines at White Plains. He was within 
the American lines in disguise and with papers on his 
person for the betrayal of a fortress. Clinton had specially 
warned him against the disguise and the papers because 
they would constitute him a spy in the full meaning of 
the word. 

Nevertheless, he and Smith, by the aid of passes which 
Arnold had given them, passed successfully by patriot 
guards and even stopped and talked with them. As they 
approached the neutral ground, however, they feared to 
enter it and stopped at a farm-house to sleep for the rest 
of the night. The neutral ground between the two armies 
was infested by " skinners/' so-called because they usually 
stripped and robbed their victims, and by " cowboys" who 
seized cattle for the British army. The " skinners" called 
themselves patriots, and the "cowboys" professed to be 
British ; but they were both alike marauders who levied 
tribute and plundered quite indiscriminately. 

The next morning Smith conducted AndrS a little dis- 
tance into the neutral ground and then returned to report 
to Arnold. This was another accident, for if Smith had 
continued to fulfil his task AndrS would undoubtedly 
have escaped to New York. 

Even alone he would in all probability have reached 
New York and carried out all of Arnold's plans if he had 
not made an unfortunate turn in the road. He was getting 
on successfully and had even met with and talked to 
several patriots. But something a boy told him about 
scouts ahead led him to alter his course, and when near 
the present Tarrytown he was stopped at the roadside by 


three skinners, Paulding, Williams, and Van "Wart, who 
were playing cards and watching for plunder and vengeance 
on some cowboys, who had killed and robbed a neighbor 
some days before. 

"When AndrS artlessly said that he hoped they were of 
" the lower party/' which meant the cowboys, they said 
they were, and one of them pointed to his green Hessian 
coat. Andr6 then foolishly announced himself a British 
officer on important business. They ordered him to dis- 
mount and told him they were Americans. He then help- 
lessly changed his ground and showed Arnold's pass ; but 
in spite of it they searched him and finding the papers in 
his stockings, declared him their prize, to be delivered to 
the nearest patriot officer. 

They took from him his watch, money, horse, and equip- 
ment, which were divided among them and afterwards sold. 
Andr6 offered them large rewards if they would take him 
to New York, and increased the offer until it is said to 
have reached 1000. But after consultation among them- 
selves they refused it and carried him to Colonel Jameson, 
the nearest patriot commander. 

They were young men, all under twenty-three, and their 
refusal of the large bribe has been sometimes credited in 
our history to their sterling patriotic virtue. They were 
rewarded by Congress with pensions and gifts of land. 
But it is only fair that the reader should know that their 
virtue was denied by many people familiar with the cir- 
cumstances, and particularly by Major Tallmadge, who 
maintained that they disregarded the bribe because they 
had no faith in its being paid. They consulted a long 
time about it, and decided that the risk was too great. If 
they allowed AndrS to enter New York, or even if they 
kept him concealed and sent a messenger with the letter 
he offered to write, no arrangement for receiving the 


reward could be made that might not also involve a 
detachment sent out to capture them. If they had seen 
the least prospect of safely receiving the reward, or any 
substantial part of it, Tallmadge believed that they would 
have let Andr6 enter New York. They saw more profit 
in the immediate spoil of the prisoner and in turning him 
over to the nearest American officer. "While they had 
served as militiamen in the patriot army they were regarded 
as bad and indiscriminate marauders, and some of the 
people of the neutral ground accused them of being cow- 
boys as well as skinners.* 

Colonel Jameson was astounded when they delivered to 
him their prize with the papers. He was unable to believe 
that Arnold was a traitor. There must be, he thought, 
some honest explanation, and he innocently sent Andr6 
with a guard accompanied by a letter of explanation to 
Arnold, and sent the papers to Washington. Andr had 
now a good chance of escape if he reached Arnold. But 
not long after the guard started Major Tallmadge reached 
Jameson's quarters, and his remonstrances induced Jameson 
to send after the guard and bring back AndrS, which was 
accomplished when AndrS had only about an hour between 
himself and freedom. But Jameson still insisted on 
letting the letter of explanation go to Arnold. 

The game was now up. Andrg was sent to Washington. 
Arnold received the letter when at breakfast, waiting for 
Washington and his staff, who had just returned from an 
interview with the French general Rochambeau, at Hart- 
ford. With superb coolness Arnold read the letter, ordered 

* Abbatt, " Crisis of the Revolution," p. 31 ; Benson, u Vindication 
of the Captors of Andre/' pp. 10, 24, etc.; Be Lancey's note to Jones, 
"Hew York in the Revolution, 7 ' vol. i. pp. 730, 737. See, also, 
Pennsylvania Hagazine of History, vol. xxii. p. 410; Sargent, "Lifo 
of Andr ;" Arnold, " Life of Arnold." 


his barge manned, said that he had been suddenly called 
across the river, and went up-stairs. His wife followed 
him and fell fainting at the announcement he made. He 
called a maid to attend her, rushed down to his barge, and 
displaying his handkerchief as a white flag, was rowed to 
the British warship " Vulture." 

He was rewarded with a gift of at least 6315 in 
money, which was a fortune in those days. His wife 
was given a pension of five hundred pounds a year, and 
each of his children one hundred pounds a year. He 
had also a command in the British army with perquisites 
and opportunities. Although some of the Whigs avoided 
his company, he was well received by the Tory aristoc- 
racy and the king, and his family finally married into 
the peerage. He accomplished a large part of his am- 
bition. Had he succeeded in surrendering West Point, 
he would have no doubt been made a peer. His sons 
entered the British army, and his descendants still occupy 
positions of respectability in England, devoting them- 
selves to the enlargement of the British dominion, which 
was the only cause their ancestor had had at heart.* 

Soon after his escape to the " Vulture" he published an 
explanation of his conduct, describing his leaning towards 
loyalism, and his disapproval of the Declaration of Inde- 
pendence, except as a mere means of obtaining a redress 
of grievances. He denounced the persistence in war and 
the attempt to dismember the British empire after the peace 
terms of 1778, which offered all the redress of grievances 
which the patriots had originally demanded. He de- 
nounced also the alliance with France, " a monarchy too 
feeble to establish your independence so perilous to her 
distant dominions ; the enemy of the Protestant faith, and 
fraudulently avowing an affection for the liberties of 

* Magazine of American, History, vol. iii. p. 678. 


mankind while she holds her native sons in vassalage 
and chains." 

He announced that henceforth he wonld devote himself 
to the reunion of the British empire; and there is no 
question that there never had been any other project to 
which he could be sincerely devoted. As to the method 
he had attempted to use in taking leave of the patriots he 
had no excuse to offer, except that if a blow was to be 
struck the vastness and importance of the issues at stake 
justified the striking of the most heavy and telling blow 
that could be given. 

As for poor AndrS, he had been within the American 
lines in disguise, with papers in his stockings revealing a 
plan to capture West Point. British officers and British 
historians have usually maintained that he was a mere pris- 
oner, protected from execution by the flag of truce, which 
Arnold and the captain of the " "Vulture" declared was 
carried by Joshua Smith when he brought Andr6 ashore, 
But Andr6 himself settled this question. The board of 
officers appointed to try him asked him if he had come 
ashore from the "Vulture" under a flag; and he frankly 
replied that he had not, and had never considered himself 
as under the protection of a flag. There was, therefore, 
nothing that could be done except to hang him as a com- 
mon spy. 

It was one of the saddest and most pathetic scenes in all 
history. Andres French delicacy, frank courage, and 
charm of manner won the hearts of his captors and of all 
the patriots in a way that would have been beyond the 
power of any Englishman, He should have been on the 
American side, as the rest of his countrymen were. As it 
was, his utter incapacity for such an enterprise as that of 
Arnold's had saved them from ruin, and was, perhaps, 
another debt they owed to France. 


Crowds of people from all the country round men, 
women, and children came to see him die. Most of them 
would have torn Arnold limb from limb, but they were 
weeping over Andr. Everything he did charmed them ; 
the touching letter he wrote to Washington asking to be 
shot instead of hanged ; the outline of his beautiful, slender 
figure as he stood upon the gallows ; his arranging with his 
own hands the noose around his neck and turning down his 
collar. No patriot could be found who would perform the 
task of executioner. They had to procure one of the half- 
way loyalist breed, who blackened his face and disguised 
himself, so that he could never again be recognized. 




THE ruin from which the patriot cause had just es- 
caped by a most lucky chain of circumstances is brought 
home to us by the mutiny among the troops which fol- 
lowed during that same autumn. The soldiers were almost 
as ragged and starved as they had been at Valley Forge. 
They had not been paid even in depreciated Continental 
money for a year. The time of those who, after the bat- 
tle of Saratoga, had enlisted " for three years or during 
the war" was about to expire. They refused to re-enlist, 
and demanded their discharge and their money. 

On January 1, 1781, thirteen hundred of them stationed 
at Morristown marched for Philadelphia under command 
of three sergeants, with the intention of forcing the Con- 
gress to pay them. Such a disorderly event caused much 
ridicule among the loyalists and the British, and seemed 
to show that the end was near. By the greatest exertions 
of leading patriots, who met them at Princeton, the mu- 
tineers were quieted and prevented from reaching Phila- 
delphia; but this was done by yielding to all their demands 
for discharge and pay. Another small detachment that 
threatened mutiny was subdued by force and by the shoot- 
ing of two of the ringleaders. But Washington's whole 
army was on the eve of dissolution. 

The patriots had from the beginning of the war fitted 
out numerous privateers to prey on British commerce. 
They had met with success which was considered brilliant 
and heroic for a small and unorganized people fighting the 


great maritime power of the world. But even with the 
determination of Admiral Howe to do as little harm as 
possible, the result of the privateering was against them. 
They had destroyed six hundred British merchant vessels, 
but British men-of-war had destroyed nine hundred Amer- 
ican vessels. This proportion of loss, if continued much 
longer, would wipe out the patriot shipping, while Eng- 
land could, from her vast commercial resources, easily 
endure her share of the damage. 

In the hope of making the loss more equal and of off- 
setting the raids made by Clinton's army, the French fur- 
nished Paul Jones, already distinguished as a privateers- 
man, with a little squadron of four vessels, of which the 
" Bonhomme Richard" was the flagship. On the 23d of 
September, 1779, the "Bonhomme Richard" fought and 
compelled the surrender of the British frigate " Serapis" 
in one of the most remarkable naval battles of history. 
The "Serapis" was the superior vessel, and damaged the 
"Bonhomme Richard" so seriously that she sank soon 
after the surrender. The purpose for which Paul Jones 
had been sent out was not accomplished ; and he could not 
get another squadron with which to assail the British 
marine. But he won immortal personal renown for having 
captured and compelled the surrender of the ship that had 
been able to sink his vessel. The moral effect of his vic- 
tory in delighting all the continental nations which hated 
England was not without importance. 

England bullied and insulted the merchant vessels of all 
nations. She claimed and exercised the right to seize ves- 
sels of any neutral nation carrying the cargoes of a nation 
with which she was at war. She was driving the conti- 
nental trading people to unite in establishing the modern 
principle that neutral ships make free goods, except cer- 
tain military supplies, called contraband of war. 


From hatred of England all continental Europe was 
gradually coming to the side of the weak and despairing 
patriot party in America. In June, 1779, Spain, in ad- 
dition to the money furnished to the Americans, allied 
herself with Prance, and declared war against England, 
without recognizing our independence or entering into an 
alliance with a people who were setting such a bad ex- 
ample to her South American colonies. England made 
great efforts to secure an alliance with Eussia and hire 
Eussian troops to go out to America, as she had hired the 
Hessians. She even went so far as to offer Eussia large 
territorial concessions and the valuable island of Minorca. 
But Eussia had merchant vessels carrying the goods of all 
nations and no navy to protect them, so she preferred to 
give the American insurgents every chance of success. 
Prussia also had a merchant marine, but no navy, and so 
Prussia encouraged Eussia to withhold assistance from 

With Holland England was in a condition of semi-war, 
seizing and searching Dutch ships and secretly longing for 
an excuse to exterminate her most dangerous rival in the 
commercial world, and punish her for joining the league 
of the armed neutrality of the continent, which had for 
its purpose the establishment of the doctrine that free 
ships make free goods and the indirect assistance of the 
American insurgents. 

The excuse to strike Holland soon came, and in a curious 
way. The patriot Congress had for some time been trying 
to persuade the thrifty Hollanders to give active assist- 
ance. Henry Laurens, of South Carolina, resigned from 
the presidency of the Congress to go on a mission to 
Holland; but in crossing the ocean in October, 1780, he 
was captured by a British cruiser. He destroyed most of 
his papers, but the draft of a proposed commercial treaty 


with Holland he threw into the sea, and the British sailors 
rescued it.* 

Although it was merely a tentative proposal, signed by 
American and ISTetherland officials, the British ministry 
deemed it sufficient for their purpose. Without waiting 
for a formal declaration of war, the British fleet seized 
two hundred Dutch merchant vessels with cargoes valued 
at five million dollars, and on December 20 war was 
declared. But before news of the declaration could reach 
St. Eustatius, a powerful British fleet under Rodney 
hastened to that famous Dutch island, which had been 
the centre and seat of the American smuggling trade 
against the British navigation laws, and recently the 
source of supplies which, as Rodney said, " alone sup- 
ported the infamous American rebellion." The island, 
which had only about fifty soldiers, surrendered, and the 
British seized and confiscated every article of property on 
it, public and private, amounting to fifteen million dollars, 
even the private property of their own merchants ; took 
one hundred and eighty merchant vessels, seven Dutch 
men-of-war, turned all the people of the island adrift, and 
left nothing but the bare rocks. They kept the Dutch flag 
flying for two months, which decoyed into the trap some 
seventeen merchant ships. 

Holland, however, did not succumb to these acts, which 
were intended to crush and terrify her. She replied by 
making vigorous war on England, so that the patriot party 
had now the alliance of Holland which they had been 
seeking. It was a question of how long the British min- 
istry could carry on war with France, Spain, and Holland, 
as well as with the Americans, and endure the secret hos- 
tility of Prussia and Russia. It was a lucky condition of 
affairs for the patriot party, a situation of such general 
* Magazine of American History, vol. xviii. p, 1. 


hostility to England as has never since occurred, or there 
would be more independent nations in the world. 

Any serious disaster might now drive the ministry 
from power and bring about the event for which the 
patriot party had been waiting seven years, namely, the 
entrance into office of their friends, the Rockingham 
Whigs. Meanwhile, during the winter of 1780-81 a new 
condition of affairs, contrary to all Clinton's plans, was 
arising in the South. 

The ministry was now thoroughly persuaded that the 
rebellion could never be subdued except by the utmost 
severity. Clinton's severity having proved itself so suc- 
cessful, they thought that it ought to be carried out more 
widely and boldly, and made to cover more ground. But 
Clinton had carefully abstained from such a reckless exten- 
sion, because he knew the risk of such a policy with his 
small force. 

Cornwallis's victory over Gates, and the devastation, 
cruelty, and killing of prisoners and non-combatants by 
which he had subjugated South Carolina, raised him in the 
estimation of the ministry as perhaps a better man for their 
purpose than Clinton. Cornwallis despised Clinton's pol- 
icy, called it mere tobacco stealing, and seems to have 
urged the ministry to change it. They accordingly encour- 
aged Cornwallis in a way that was very unpleasant for 
Clinton; and Cornwallis was finally so convinced of his 
own importance that he would not obey Clinton's orders 
or carry out his policy.* 

* Clinton, "Observations on Stedman's American War," pp, 9, 17, 
London, 1794. The encouragement of Cornwallis and slighting of 
Clinton has sometimes been assigned exclusively to Germain. He, 
of course, as Colonial Secretary, wrote the letters j but those letters 
expressed what had been resolved upon by the ministry and the king, 
and were not merely an expression of Germain's private views. 


Clinton took the precaution of asking to be recalled ; 
and yet when given permission to resign whenever he chose 
he seems to have been unwilling to do so and give the 
command to Cornwallis, who, he believed, was conducting 
military operations in a way to force the resignation. 

Cornwallis was a very uncertain person. As Howe's 
subordinate he had been lax and indifferent to the verge 
of incompetency. He failed to pursue Washington through 
Jersey in 1776. He allowed the patriot army to escape 
when he had it cornered at Trenton. He defended Howe's 
extraordinary move to Philadelphia, and was neither ag- 
gressive nor severe. But under Clinton and the new 
methods of the ministry he completely changed. He car- 
ried pursuit, energy, and aggressiveness to an extreme, 
did many of the things which he had testified before the 
Howe Committee of Inquiry could not be done, and be- 
came as cruel and merciless an officer as was ever turned 
loose to crush independence and patriotism. 

As he was a Whig member of Parliament, and appar- 
ently a chameleon politician without strong convictions, 
his conduct may be explainable by some political condition 
of the time of which we are not informed; and mere 
personal ambition may possibly be the explanation. Clin- 
ton who was a rather straightforward person, and not a 
political general, seems to have been unable to acquire the 
least respect for either the ability or character of Corn- 
wallis, who before he came to America was described by 
Junius as a Whig, who toadied to Tories, and " shifted his 
company as well as his opinions." * 

The British forces under Cornwallis had a firm control 
of South Carolina. It was Clinton's plan to keep this 

* Boss, " Correspondence of Charles, First Marquis Cornwallis, " p. 
12. After the Revolution Cornwallis gratified his ambition by having 
a very distinguished career in subduing the Irish and the East Indians. 


control and the control of New York, and wait quietly for 
favorable circumstance-, occasionally sending out a severe 
predatory expedition in such a way that the safety and re- 
turn of the expedition would be amply secured. As rein- 
forcements were obtained the predatory expeditions could 
be made more and more severe until the patriots were worn 

Cornwallis, either from the encouragement of the min- 
istry, the elation of his victory over Gates, or for undis- 
closed ambitions or political reasons, began to branch out 
recklessly. He started to invade North Carolina in force, 
and, instead of mere predatory expeditions, separated him- 
self far from his base and strongholds at Camden and 
Charleston. In September, 1780, just about the time that 
Andr6 and Arnold met with failure on the Hudson, Corn- 
wallis left Tarleton with a reduced force to take care of 
South Carolina, and moved up to Charlotte, in North 
Carolina. At the same time he sent the prisoner-killing 
Ferguson, of Egg Harbor fame, with about one thousand 
loyalists, to press far to the westward near the Alleghanies, 
enlist more loyalists, and rejoin him at Charlotte. 

The fate of Ferguson, and the increasing difficulties of 
Cornwallis, immediately showed the madness of this move 
and the soundness of the waiting policy. Patriot partisans 
and hunters of the Marion and Suinter type swarmed all 
round Cornwallis, cutting off his messengers and foraging 
parties, and inflicting endless delay and annoyance. Fer- 
guson, moving westward, followed up the mobile and 
elusive Americans until he was far into Rutherford 

This was the signal for the patriot frontiersmen, who 
now saw their chance. From north, south, and west the 
riflemen came pouring in by hundreds to catch Ferguson 
in the trap and cut him off. By the beginning of October, 


three thousand of these " dirty mongrels," as he called 
them, had collected, outnumbering him more than two to 
one. He began retreating to Cornwallis at Charlotte, but 
they pressed him so close that he had no choice but to stop 
and fight. He selected King's Mountain, three sides of 
which were sloping and approachable, while the fourth 
side was a steep and unapproachable precipice. By placing 
himself with his rear to the precipice he imagined that he 
had an impregnable position. But he had made the mis- 
take of placing himself in a position from which, in case 
of disaster, it was impossible to retreat. 

He had also made another fatal mistake, for the ground 
up the slopes was covered with large pine-trees standing 
far apart, with no underbrush, but many large moss- 
covered boulders. It was the ideal ground for the riflemen. 
They swarmed up all three sides of the slopes, firing as 
sharp-shooters from behind the trees and boulders, moving 
forward gradually from tree to tree, as they picked off 
regulars and loyalists. "When the British charged down 
and were scattered and confused by the boulders and trees, 
they received a deadly flank fire from the riflemen, and 
whichever way they turned they were shot from all sides, 
very much as at Braddock's famous defeat. 

The Americans fought in frontier fashion without par- 
ticular orders, each man for himself, and thoroughly under- 
standing the work. They kept closing up towards the 
summit until one of them put a ball through the prisoner- 
killer, tumbling him from his horse, which dashed down the 
slope among the boulders. His men held their ground for 
some time afterwards, but, being unable to escape, were 
compelled to raise the white flag and surrender. They 
had lost four hundred killed and wounded, while the rifle- 
men had lost only eighty-eight. It was another instance 
to show that if England reduced the seaboard communities 


to colonies, another tier of self-willed and aggressive re- 
publics would spring up beyond the mountains.* 

The riflemen, after striking this blow, scattered to their 
homes in the mountains, showing again what an elusive 
as well as deadly foe they could be. Before separating 
they began to kill their prisoners, in retaliation for British 
prisoner-killing, and had hanged ten of them when they 
were stopped by their commander Campbell. 

Cornwallis, after the loss of Ferguson's whole command, 
fell back from Charlotte into South Carolina to recuperate 
and wait for reinforcements. One would suppose that he 
had now seen the folly of attempting to penetrate for long 
distances into North Carolina. The loyalists, upon whom 
he had relied to rise and assist him, were, as one of his 
own officers explained, f mostly of the sort which have 
been described as the hesitating, uncertain class. They 
were for whichever side was successful, and since Fer- 
guson's defeat they were refusing to enlist with the Brit- 
ish and breaking their oaths of allegiance, a condition of 
mind which was encouraged by a defeat which Sumter in- 
flicted on Tarleton at the battle of Blackstock Hill. 

The northern patriots were greatly encouraged and saw 
their opportunity in the methods of Cornwallis. Wash- 
ington made great efforts to have General Greene put in 
command of all the patriot forces that could be collected 
in the South, and the services of Daniel Morgan were also 
secured. Both Greene and Morgan had been rather ill- 
used and refused promotion by the Congress, which at this 
period was a most factious, petty-minded, and ridiculous 
body, which gave no promise of future good government 
at patriot hands in America. The language of contempt 

* Magazine of American History, vol. v. pp. 351, 401, 
t Ross, "Correspondence of Charles, Pirst Marquis Cornwallis," 
vol. i. p. 63. 


which the English, the loyalists, and some of the patriots 
applied to it seems to have been entirely deserved. 

The situation now became a pretty chess-board, a real 
game of war. Clinton sent Arnold with a force of sixteen 
hundred to replace in "Virginia the force of Leslie, who 
had sailed for Charleston to help hold South Carolina, 
while Cornwallis played his pranks to the northward. As 
a check upon Arnold in Virginia and to prevent him as- 
sisting Cornwallis, Washington sent to that province a force 
under Steuben, and later under Lafayette. Greene rapidly 
collected forces of riflemen, horsemen, militia, and every 
fighting man he could find. There were not many of 
them, barely 2000, while Cornwallis had over 3000. 

Greene divided his army into two divisions. The 
larger division of about 1100 he led in person, and estab- 
lished it at Cheraw Hill, on the Pedee Eiver, near the 
coast, whence Marion and Light-Horse Harry Lee from 
Virginia could raid round Cornwallis's right and endanger 
his communications. The remainder of Greene's force, 
about 900 strong, and commanded by Morgan, was sent 
westward to annoy the left wing of Cornwallis ; and here 
Colonel "Washington, a cousin of the general, was the raider, 
destroying in one dash a British force of two hundred and 
fifty men. 

This disposition of forces by Greene has always been 
regarded as most skilful, for Cornwallis could not very 
well concentrate his whole force upon either division of 
his enemy without having the other division fall upon his 
flank or rear or cut his communications. It was also part 
of Greene's plan, as being the weaker party, to wait until 
he vras attacked, and be attacked upon ground of his own 

Cornwallis divided his army to correspond with Greene's. 
He sent Tarleton with 1100 men to attack Morgan's 900, 


and he himself led his remaining 2000 against Greene's 
1100. In spite of all warnings and against the advice 
of Tarleton, he had now returned to his original plan 
of invading North Carolina ; and he even destroyed his 
heavy baggage and wagons and prepared to cut himself 
loose from, all his communications with South Carolina. 
He was giving the patriots their grandest opportunity in 
the war. 

Morgan fell back to ground that suited his purpose, a 
place near King's Mountain, called the Cowpens, where 
cattle were collected from the surrounding grazing country. 
He placed himself with the river in his immediate rear, 
which, if he were defeated, would largely cut off his re- 
treat ; but he did this, he said, to prevent his militia from 
running too soon. He then prepared a formation which 
seems to have been entirely original, the result of careful 
thought and thorough knowledge of his material. 

He placed the raw militia far in the front to receive the 
first onset of the British, and told them that he expected 
them to fire only two volleys at killing distance. After 
that they could run; and he showed them how to run 
round the left flank of the rest of his troops, and get be- 
hind the main body of them, where they could reform at 
their leisure and recover themselves. There seems to have 
been infinite shrewdness in this arrangement. It was a 
plan which had been much discussed and urged in oppo- 
sition to Washington, who thought that militia should not 
be used in that way. 

About one hundred and fifty yards behind the militia 
Morgan placed his picked troops on a slight hill, and one 
hundred and fifty yards farther back he placed his cavalry 
under Colonel Washington. 

Tarleton attacked, in his dashing, eager style, at sunrise. 
The militia received him better than was expected, and re- 


treated as they had been told. The British instantly 
spread out and rushed at the second line of Americans, 
intending to flank them on both sides. The second line 
avoided this movement by falling back to the position of 
the cavalry. At the same time the cavalry circled round 
and attacked the British right flank, and the militia, having 
been reformed, circled round the other side and attacked 
the British left. The second line retreated no farther, 
but, after delivering their fire at thirty yards, charged the 

It was a most remarkable battle, the first originally 
contrived battle that had been fought by the patriots. 
They lost only seventy-three killed and wounded, while 
the British lost two hundred and thirty and surrendered 
six hundred prisoners. In fact, Tarleton was almost as 
completely routed as Ferguson had been. He escaped on 
his horse, after a savage but bloodless sword combat with 

Our good friend Cornwallis had now lost two of his 
commands, and was apparently eager to lose a third. He 
was pressing north and trying to cut off Morgan from 
joining Greene. It was a race between them ; but Morgan 
was more lightly equipped, and by a rapid march crossed 
the Catawba ahead of Cornwallis. Greene, learning of 
Morgan's success at the Cowpens, and that he was moving 
north, with Cornwallis chasing him, at once started his 
whole force northward from Cheraw Hill, so as to draw 
Cornwallis farther and farther northward* 

Cornwallis was now beaten. Hiving lost such a large 
part of his army, his only safe course was to fall back to 
his stronghold in South Carolina. But he seemed deter- 
mined to go into the trap, and, having destroyed his heavy 
baggage, pressed faster and faster northward to the place 
* Magazine of American History, vol. xxx. p. 207. 


to which Greene was leading him. In doing this he was 
disobeying Clinton's orders, and running a frightful risk 
with everything against him.* 

Greene, leaving the command of the larger division to 
General Huger, had crossed over to Morgan's division and 
taken command of it. The two divisions were moving 
northward, gradually converging towards each other, with 
Cornwallis, like a trained dog, closely following Morgan's 
division. It was the beginning of February, 1781, rainy, 
muddy, and the streams all swollen. Greene's divisions 
carried boats on wheels, and could cross the streams more 
rapidly than Cornwallis, who could have been led all the 
way up into Pennsylvania if it had been necessary to take 
him that far. Greene's men were too few to fight, and 
they were in a wretched, ragged condition, with only one 
blanket to four men, their shoes worn out and their 
bleeding feet tracking the ground, as at Princeton and 
Valley Forge. 

On the 9th of February Greene's converging divisions 
met at Guilford Court-House, in Northern North Carolina. 
He wanted to stop and fight, but could not get reinforce- 
ments from the Virginia patriot force, which Arnold held 
in a tight grip. So he moved on, with Cornwallis follow- 
ing, passed into Virginia, and crossed the Dan River. 
This was too large a stream for Cornwallis. He turned 
back and went southward a few miles to Hillsborough, 
declared a conquest of North Carolina, and issued procla- 
mations to encourage the loyalists. 

Fearing that his prey might escape southward, Greene 
returned into North Carolina, and for three weeks the two 
armies dodged each other, while Greene waited for rein- 
forcements. They came at last. He had 4000 men to 

* Clinton's MS. notes to Stedman's "American "War," vol. ii. pp. 
195, 317, 325. 


Cornwallis's 2000. The trap was complete. He selected 
Guilford Court-House as the place where he wished to be 
attacked, and, on March 15, arranged his men in three di- 
visions, one behind the other, with the worst militia in 
front, almost exactly as Morgan had done at the Cowpens. 
The only difference was that the distances between the 
divisions was very long, some three hundred to four hun- 
dred yards, and the cavalry was placed on the flanks 
instead of in the rear. 

Cornwallis came up and attacked exactly where he was 
wanted; but he fought better and more carefully than 
Tarleton. It was a most severely contested battle, lasting 
five hours, with heavy losses on both sides ; and at the end 
of it Greene considered himself fortunate to be able to fall 
back in safety. When he found that his men were in a 
secure position he fainted from exhaustion. 

Cornwallis, too, was quite willing to retire to a strong 
position after his nominal victory. In effect he had given 
the day and the war to the Americans. After his severe 
loss he could not fight again. He should have fallen back 
on South Carolina and saved it, as he had been ordered 
to do by Clinton, in case he should be unsuccessful in 
North Carolina.* But to Clinton's bitter mortification 
Cornwallis retreated to the nearest seaport, which was 
Wilmington. From there he could have gone back to 
Charleston by sea and still saved Clinton's policy. 

Greene assumed that he would do this ; and as soon as 
he saw him about to enter Wilmington, he started in hot 
haste to strike a blow in unprotected South Carolina and 
Georgia before Cornwallis could reach them by sea. The 
excellent system of cantonments following the valley 

* Clinton, " Observations on Stedman's American War," pp. 17, 23. 
"If Lord Cornwallis had never left South Carolina," said Clinton, 
"his Majesty might have remained sovereign of that great continent.' 7 



of the Santee Eiver, from Georgetown at its mouth 
up to Camden and Ninety-Six, by which. Clinton's skill 
had secured British control of South Carolina, had been 
left weakly manned and were ripe for an attack. Greene 
hastened to reach them, but he need not have been in such 
a hurry, for Cornwallis gave him all the time he needed. 

On the 18th of April, while Greene threatened Camden, 
Marion attacked Fort Watson, which was an old Indian 
mound in the midst of level land. With the originality 
which had now become so characteristic of the patriot 
officers, one of Marion's subordinates, Major Mayham, 
suggested cutting pine logs and building them into a sort 
of tower from which to shoot down into the fort. This 
was quickly done, the tower filled with riflemen, and the 
fort surrendered. 

This surrender broke the line of communication in the 
British cantonments. Lord Eawdon sallied out of Cam- 
den, attacked Greene at Hobkirk's Hill, and drove him 
from his position. But Eawdon, with his line of com- 
munication to the sea broken, could not hold Camden. He 
abandoned it and retreated to Monk's Corner, close to 
Georgetown and the mouth of the river. 

Greene, by merely fighting losing battles, now quickly 
disposed of all the other interior cantonments, and Light- 
Horse Harry Lee went down into Georgia and took Au- 
gusta. Eawdon drove Greene from the siege of Ninety- 
Six, but had to fall back to the coast as he had done from 
Camden. Ninety-Six was abandoned June 29, and Eaw- 
don retired to Orangeburgh to protect Charleston. The 
heat was becoming too excessive for the endurance of either 
army. They went into summer quarters. Eawdon re- 
mained at Orangeburgh and Greene summered his troops 
on the High Hills of Santee. 
But where was Cornwallis all this time? Why had he 


not come from Wilmington to save South Carolina ? One 
would have supposed that he had sufficiently broken up 
the effective system of Clinton, and might now be willing 
to save or restore it at the last moment. It seems, how- 
ever, that he was determined to make a present of South 
Carolina to Greene, and a present of himself to any patriot 
officer who would take him. 

After reaching Wilmington on the 7th of April, he had 
remained there a little over two weeks, and then, to the 
surprise of every one and the disgust and indignation of 
Clinton, he went, not by sea to South Carolina, but by 
land to Virginia, which he reached May 20, and joined 
the forces which were there under Arnold. Clinton de- 
clared that the movement of Cornwallis to "Wilmington 
and thence to Virginia was inexplicable on any military 
grounds, and by this he may have intended to intimate that 
he thought there was a personal reason or perhaps a political 
one. The ministry, Clinton says, finally saw the folly and 
danger of Cornwallis's methods, but too late. One year 
more of the careful wearing-out process, Clinton said, would 
have exhausted the patriot party and ended the war.* 

Arnold returned to New York, and Cornwallis assumed 
command of the British Virginia force of about five thou- 
sand men. He actually wrote to Clinton urging him to 
abandon New York, and to come with his whole force 
down to Virginia and help hold that province. Howe 
had followed the policy of occupying towns and abandon- 
ing them. Cornwallis wished to occupy provinces and 
abandon them. He had previously advised Clinton to 
scatter his forces by attempting to hold every port where 
the French might land. 

During the whole of June, while Greene was destroying 

* MS. notes to Stedman's " American "War," vol. ii. pp. 353, 35*, 


the enfeebled works in South Carolina, Corn wallis chased the 
small patriot force under Lafayette up and down through 
Virginia. Lafayette was a mere youth of twenty-three ; 
but he never allowed the British general to come up with 
him ; and avoided giving battle. They merely played at 
hide-and-seek with each other all over the ground which, 
in the Civil War, was so desperately contested by the Union 
and Confederate armies. From Williamsburg, where an 
unimportant engagement was fought, to Charlottesville, 
where Tarleton tried to capture Thomas Jefferson, through 
the valleys of the James, Chickahominy, and Pamunkey, 
was the scene of their game. 

In August they stopped the sport and went into summer 
quarters. Cornwallis placed himself at Yorktown, close to 
Chesapeake Bay and sea communication; and Lafayette 
stationed himself at Malvern Hill, near the James, to keep 
watch on his queer antagonist. 

While they rested in this position Greene, on the 22d of 
August, finding his men increased in numbers and in 
good condition, would not wait until cooler weather. He 
marched his army in the cool of the mornings and even- 
ings to attack the British at Orangeburgh. They fell back 
on Eutaw Springs, where, on September 8, a battle was 
fought in which they were at first driven from their posi- 
tion, but formed a new line which they held. Being, how- 
ever, unable to assume the aggressive, they retreated the 
next day to Charleston, and that ended Greene's campaign. 

He could not drive them from Charleston any more than 
Washington could drive Clinton from New York ; and, like 
New York, Charleston was held by the British until the 
close of the war. But Greene had reconquered Georgia 
and all the interior of South Carolina. The patriot State 
government of South Carolina was restored, and Corn- 
wallis's gift of that province and Georgia was complete. 

J G?f?I?_/&> 



Without the slightest military necessity for it Cornwallis 
had turned the situation in America upside down. From 
a situation where it was a mere question of time for the 
British to wear out the patriots, his genius had brought 
about a state of affairs in which the patriots had begun to 
wear out the British. "With South Carolina lost, with New 
York so weakened to support Cornwallis in his uncertain 
migrations about Virginia that Clinton could no longer keep 
the French army locked up in Newport, the opportunity of 
a deadly and sudden blow was presented to Washington.* 

With the French army set free to aid him, it seemed as 
if he could surely strike Clinton in New York and take 
that stronghold. The natural place for attack seemed to 
every one to be New York, because it was nearest, and 
from the time of Greene's first successes in South Caro- 
lina Washington had been planning with the French Gen- 
eral Eochambeau for such an attack. 

It was proposed to summon to their assistance the 
French fleet under Count de Grasse, which had been fight- 
ing the English in the West Indies. The fleet was sum- 
moned, and started from the West Indies on the 14th of 
August. Everybody, including Clinton himself, looked 
forward to the attack upon New York as the most obvious 
policy of the patriot and French forces. 

On the 19th of August, leaving Heath with about 4000 
men to hold West Point, on the Hudson, Washington, with 
2000 patriot troops and accompanied by Rochambeau with 
4000 French soldiers, started down into New Jersey with 
the evident intention of going out on Staten Island to 

* The main sources of information on this, extraordinary campaign 
of Cornwallis are his own letters, edited "by Ross, Clinton's "Observa- 
tions on Stedman's American War," printed in London in 1794, 
Tarleton's Narrative, Clinton's MS. notes on Stedman's "American 
War," in the Carter-Brown Library at Providence, and B. E. 
Steyons's " Clinton-Corn wallis Controversy." 


co-operate with the French fleet that had already left 
the West Indies. But after passing New Brunswick 
the army was surprised to find itself directed away from 
Staten Island, and not until it had crossed the Delaware 
and almost reached Philadelphia did the country or Clin- 
ton realize that it was making a dash at Cornwallis in 

It had now too much of a start for Clinton to hope to 
stop it. It quickly reached the head of Chesapeake Bay, 
was put aboard ships, and on the 18th of September was 
confronting Cornwallis at Yorktown, with all the patriot 
forces in Virginia added to its numbers. 

This was the first opportunity Washington had had to 
show any marked ability in what is usually called general- 
ship. For six years his skill had been displayed princi- 
pally in tact and patience in holding together a half-organ- 
ized mob, enthusiastic for the rights of man. The tact 
and patience and force of character with which he did this 
were marvellous ; but they were not what is usually called 
great military ability. In fact, his tasks during most 
of the Revolution required certain statesmanlike qualities 
rather than military talent or genius. He had fought two 
battles, Long Island and Brandy wine, which he was sure 
to lose ; and he had lost them as courageously and with as 
little disaster as could have been expected. Trenton and 
Princeton were clever, brilliant little strokes; but they 
were mere outpost affairs which might or might not imply 
the possession of high talent. The move on Yorktown, 
however, the whole conception of it, which was entirely 
his, and the sudden and at first veiled execution of it, have 
given him, in the eyes of military authorities, a far higher 
position as a soldier than all his previous career was able 
to bestow. 

The secret of the movement had been faithfully kept 


by himself, Rochambeau, and de Grasse. The fleet under 
Count de Grasse had arrived in the mouth of the Chesa- 
peake about the time that Washington and Eochambeau 
crossed the Delaware River. The British fleet under Ad- 
miral Hood, that had been protecting the West Indies, 
outsailed de Grasse in coming up the coast, and reached 
New York, which was supposed to be de Grasse's destina- 
tion. On learning of his presence in the Chesapeake to 
assist in the destruction of Cornwallis, the fleet returned 
under Admiral Graves, together with the ships he had 
commanded on the New York station. On September 5, 
the day Washington and Eochambeau were embarking at 
the head of the bay, de Grasse and Graves fought a naval 
battle at the mouth of the bay, from which, after two 
hours, Graves withdrew with a loss of some three hundred 
men and three crippled ships. Seeing that de Grasse was 
clearly too strong for him, he returned to New York, and 
the trap round Cornwallis was complete, for he could no 
longer rely upon reinforcements or assistance from the 
British fleet, which he had hoped would be able to come 
into the river at Yorktown. 

He went through a form of resistance while the Ameri- 
cans and French besieged him, and dug parallels of ap- 
proach during the rest of September and for two weeks in 
October. But, seeing the futility of resistance, he finally 
surrendered on October 17, the anniversary of Burgoyne's 
surrender four years before.* 

Clinton had gone by sea to his aid, but, arriving too late, 
he returned to New York. Arnold conducted in September 

* After Cornwallis had returned to England, we find him writing, 
November 13, 1783, "I am every day more and more convinced of 
the necessity of military reading. J ' There was certainly in his case 
great necessity for it ; and although it was a rather late "beginning, his 
new studies no doubt helped him in his career in India. Boss, ' Corre- 
spondence of Oornwallis," vol. i. p. 149. 


a most savage and murderous prisoner-killing raid at New 
London, Connecticut, but it was too late.* The predatory 
expeditions were no longer of any use. There was no 
more fighting, although the treaty of peace was not signed 
until September 3, 1783. 

Clinton's clever policy had reached an inglorious end. 
The ministry could not survive the surrender of Corn- 
wallis in addition to the wars with France, Spain, and 
Holland. The Whig minority, which had at one time 
during the war become so small that it almost disappeared, 
began to increase with great rapidity. The government's 
majority decreased on eveiy important vole until it had 
only a majority of one, and on the next vote it was in the 
minority. The famous Tory ministry of Lord North re- 
signed, and at the request of the king a ministry was 
formed of Eockingham "Whigs. 

Even these Whigs were slow about signing that most 
detestable of all things to an Englishman, a document 
admitting that another country has a right to existence 
as a nation. They delayed long ; they avoided the word 
independence; they wondered if some other arrangement 
could not be made, if some suzerainty could not be 
retained; and, as a matter of fact, they retained suze- 
rainty on the sea and searched our ships as they pleased 
until 1812. 

An impression prevails among Americans that, as a 
result of the Eevolution, England learned to retain her , 
colonies by the affectionate method, the method without 
military force or coercion, which such Whigs as Burke 
and Chatham recommended. It is supposed that England 
has now acknowledged that the demands of our patriot 
party were reasonable ; that they form a proper method of 

* ' ]STarrative of Jonathan Bathbun on the Capture of Groton Fort 
and Massacre. " 


colonial government, which she has herself adopted ; and 
that if she had yielded to those demands in 1776 America 
would still be a part of the British empire. 

These extraordinary notions are continually being fos- 
tered, either directly or indirectly, in volumes which pass 
as history. But England, so far from acknowledging 
the soundness of the method of Burke and Chatham, or 
the reasonableness of our demands, has governed her col- 
onies ever since our Eevolution by a method which is 
directly the reverse. No English colony has now any of 
the rights which were demanded by the Americans of 
1776, nor any hope of obtaining them except by a re- 
bellion and war which would be assisted by some power- 
ful nation. 

The main contention of our patriot party was that 
Parliament should exercise no authority in the colonies, 
should be considered constitutionally incapacitated from 
passing an act to regulate the colonies, and that the col- 
onies should be attached to England merely by a pro- 
tectorate from the crown. This demand was rejected by 
England, and would now be considered as so completely 
out of the question that no one of her present colonies 
would think of suggesting it ; for if there is anything 
that is absolutely settled in English political or constitu- 
tional law it is that Parliament has the same supreme 
and omnipotent power in every British colony that it has 
in London. 

As for the other demand of our patriot party, that 
England should not keep a standing army in a colony or 
build fortifications in it except by that colony's consent, 
it was, of course, rejected by England, because it neces- 
sarily destroyed the colonial relation and meant indepen- 
dence ; and in England's present colonial system, which is 
maintained solely by the overwhelming power of an army 


and navy, such a right in a colony would be too ridiculous 
to be mentioned. 

In fact, England considers herself entitled to do ; and 
habitually does, in any of her colonies, almost every one of 
the things against which our people protested or rebelled.* 
One of the strongest incentives our people had for taking 
arms was Parliament's alteration of the charter and govern- 
ment of Massachusetts. They contended that Parliament 
could not alter the charter or government of a colony with- 
out that colony's consent. But England now alters any 
colonial charter or constitution as she pleases, withdraws or 
suspends it, and no colony dreams of denying her right to 
do so. 

It is true that England exercises these powers with as 
much forbearance and caution as is possible ; she is concilia- 
tory and friendly, and grants such freedom as she considers 
is not inconsistent with the maintenance of her dominion. 
She was certainly extremely liberal and forbearing with us 
for a hundred years while France held Canada, and most 
cautious, conciliatory, and even yielding in repealing the 
Stamp Act and the paint, paper, and glass act in the early 
stages of the Revolution. But English colonists, so far from 
having any of the rights for which we contended, have no 
rights at all in the American sense of the word. They are 
dependent on the charitable consideration or the politic 
forbearance of the mother-country. Their condition can be 
changed at any moment. They are what John Adams and 
Hamilton described as political slaves. They have what 
they call their constitutional relations, but the word consti- 
tutional does not with them mean a fixed principle as with us. 

* England even disregarded the American protest against transport- 
ing convicts to the colonies, and as soon as wo won our independence 
she turned her colonies in Australia into a dumping-ground. Penn- 
sylvania Magazine of History, vol. xii. p. 457. 


* ( In tlie statement of constitutional rules, it must be recollected 
that any emergencies may cause them to be broken. Improper action 
by the colonists, or a particular party of them, might compel Parlia- 
ment to legislate in disregard of the ordinary maxims of policy." 
Jenkyns, " British Eule and Jurisdiction Beyond the Seas/' p. 12. 

Judging by Great Britain's conduct during the years 
following our Revolution, the lesson she drew from it was 
that the greatest mistake that could be made in governing 
colonies was to grant them privileges and concessions, or to 
yield to their violent demands ; for such yielding builds up 
the patriot party which always exists in every community.* 
Our Revolution caused England to tighten, not to loosen, 
her grip on her dependencies. It even caused her to be 
tyrannical and cruel, which, it cannot be said, she had been 
with us previous to Clinton's command in 1778. It was 
after our Revolution that she began that system of injus- 
tice to the Dutch of Cape Colony, described in Theal's 
" History of South Africa," which finally drove them to 
make the grand trek into the interior and found the Trans- 
vaal and the Orange Free State. 

England's colonies can no longer raise, as we did, the 
question as to what the word colony means. "We held it 
to mean an independent state beyond the jurisdiction of 
Parliament, making its own laws as it pleased, and con- 
nected with the mother-country only by a protectorate to 
prevent foreign interference or invasion. But a modern 
English colony, even if allowed the utmost limit of self- 
government, is under the full jurisdiction of Parliament, 
enacts its laws, subject to the veto of the home govern- 
ment, and is ruled by a governor sent out from England. 
Every British colony is now held down to this or a more 
severe condition by a military and naval force so over- 

* Report of American Historical Association, vol. i. pp. 375, 386 j 
Jenkyns, " British Eule and Jurisdiction Beyond the Seas," p, 8. 


whelming that there is no use even of discussing resist- 
ance or change. The patriot party must remain quies- 
cent, and adopt, like our ancestors, the phraseology of 
loyalty until some distant day in the future ' when Eng- 
land's power shall wane. 

The theory of such "Whigs as Chatham and Burke that 
colonies could be retained by some mysterious or rhetorical 
sentiment and without coercion or military force, has long 
since been exploded. Sentiment and conciliation and most 
elaborately friendly explanations are often used by Eng- 
land after complete subjugation. But conciliation without 
overwhelming force or subjugation merely builds up the 
patriot or independence party, 

No community of people, naturally separated from others 
geographically, or by race, trade, or any strong circum- 
stance, as Hamilton, Dean Tucker, and all the authors of 
the rights of man so often explained, ever willingly remains 
a colony. The instinct to set up housekeeping for itself 
and resent outside interference is as natural and as strong 
as the same instinct in the individual. The stronger the 
manhood in the communitjr, and the more effective the 
occupations of the inhabitants in developing primal man- 
hood, the stronger will be the tendency to independence, 
and the stronger and more desperate the patriot party. 

There will also always be a loyalist party, just as there 
will always be a certain number of individuals who prefer 
to live in lodgings, or other people's houses, and do not 
want a family. Sedentary, professional, or servile occu- 
pations often tend to increase the number of these loyalists. 
It is a question of mere calculation for the dominant 
country how much military force must be used to encourage 
the loyalist and keep the patriot party below the line of 
hope ; for in colonies, loyalty, like Napoleon's providence, 
is altogether a question of the heavy artillery. 



Abercromble, Colonel, 254 

Adams, John, 27, 100, 163, 164, 167, 176-178, 239 

Samuel, 97, 99, 104, 107, 108, 112, 114-116, 124, 224-226 
Address to the Inhabitants of Canada, 194; ridiculed by loyalists 

and English, 195; to the People of Great Britain, 194 
Alexander, General, 312 
Allen family, of Pennsylvania, 28 
Andre*, Major, 355, 391, 403 
Army, patriot, 258-270 

Arnold, Benedict, 273-288, 355, 372, 391, 403, 413 
Association, the, 189-193 


Bancroft, Edward, 130 

Barclay, David, 204 

BarrS, Colonel, 199, 216, 219 

Barren Hill, 346 

Baylor, Captain, 381 

Beacon Hill, 248 

Beccaria, 46, 138, 139 

Bellamont, Lord, 30 

Bennington, battle of, 355 

Bland, Bichard, 27, 68 

Boston, English flag in, 21; news of Stamp Act received in, 57; 
commissioners of customs to reside in, 85 ; town meeting in, to 
discountenance rioting, 86; man-of-war arrived at, 91, 92; sol- 
diers withdrawn from, 98; massacre, 100; destruction of tea 
in, 112, 113; attempt to impose fine on, for allowing destruc- 
tion of tea, 116, 117; Port Bill, 117, 118; patriots refuse to 
allow damages, 118; evacuation of, 295, 296 

Boucher, Rev. Dr., of Maryland, 230 

Brooklyn Heights, 311, 314 

Buford, Colonel, 386 

Bunker Hill, battle of, 247, 256, 258 


430 IKDEX 

Burgoyne, General, 201, 216, 285, 333, 334 
Burke, 199, 216, 217, 219 
Burlamaqui, 46, 131-147 
Burr, Aaron, 275, 280 


Camden, battle of, 388 

Campbell, Colonel, 283 

Canada, 271, 285, 287 

Carleton, Sir Guy, 278, 279, 285-287, 332-334 

Carpenters 3 Hall, 182, 184 

Charter, Connecticut, obtained, 19 
first Virginia, 127 
Massachusetts, annulled, 21 
Pennsylvania and other colonies, 128, 129 
second Virginia, 128 
violation of Massachusetts, discussed, 104 

Chatham, Lord, 82, 93, 371 

Chatterton Hill, 316 

Cherry Valley, massacre of, 380 

Christ Church, Philadelphia, 184 

Clinton, General Sir Henry, 292; plan for conducting raids, 292; 
left Boston, 294; at Brooklyn Heights with Howe, 313; saves 
Newport, 328 ; left in command at New York, 335 ; on Howe's 
failure to assist Burgoyne, 351; tries to assist Burgoync, 354; 
escapes from Philadelphia, 373, 377; takes South Carolina, 
385; asks to be recalled, 409 

Colony, definition of, 135 

Conciliatory policy, 94, 95, 97 

Concord, 225, 226 

Congress, the continental, 123, 182, 185, 189, 191, 238, 240, 321 

Connecticut, charter of, 19 

Convicts, 29, 30 

Cornwallis, General, 201, 313, 319, 320, 328, 3C4, 380, 408, 423 

Correa, Abbe*, 357 

Cowpens, battle of, 414 

Cromwell, Oliver, 34, 35 

Customs, board of commissioners of, 46 


"Declaration of Rights," 189 

Declaratory Act, 65, 78 

Dickinson, John, Philadelphia, 24, 27, 90, 165 


Dorchester Heights, 295 
Drinker, John, 42 
Duche*, Rev. Dr., 350 


East India Company, 105-107, 112-117 
Enos, Colonel, 276 
Estaing, Count d', 377, 378, 385 


Ferguson, Captain, 381, 410 
Fisheries Bill, 220-222, 224 
Flag, 21, 270 
Fort Lee, 318 

Ticonderoga, 286 

Washington, 317 

Watson, 418 
Fothergill, Dr., 204 
Fox, Charles, 371 

France, 17, 21, 27, 31-33, 52, 96, 243-245, 287, 288, 297, 298, 357 
Franklin, Benjamin, 23, 24, 62, 92, 172, 173, 204, 205, 238 

William, 358 


Gage, General, 213, 251, 252, 289 
Galloway, Joseph, 28, 174, 175, 323 
Gates, General, 372, 388 
Georgia taken by the British, 381 
Germain, Lord George, 83, 306, 317, 333 
Germantown, battle of, 344 
Governors, colonial, 22-24 
Grant, General, 201, 215 

Mrs., " Memoirs of an American Lady/' 267 
Grasse, Count de, 421 
Graydon, Captain, 267-269, 300, 317 
Greene, General, 265, 412, 418 
Grey, General, 343, 365, 380 
Grotius, influence of writings of, 46 
Guilford Court-House, battle of, 417 


Hamilton, Alexander, 27, 147, 149 
Hancock, John, 27, 224-226 

432 INDEX 

Happiness, pursuit of, 144, 147 

Hendricks, Captain, 273, 282 

Henry, Judge, 273, 283 
Patrick, 56 

Hillsborough, Lord, 83, 94, 95 

Holland, 34, 37, 406, 407 

Hooker, 137 

Howe, Admiral, 196, 198, 201, 204, 301-303 
George, 186, 187 

General Sir William, family, services, politics, etc., 198, 202] 
presents petition in Parliament, 214; at Bunker Hill, 252, 
256 -, took supreme command of British army, 289; reason 
for refusing to leave Boston, 293; attachment for Mrs. 
Loring, 294; agreement with Washington to leave Boston, 
296; at Staten Island, 301; number of men with, before 
New York, 301; anxious to conclude Whig peace, 302; 
taking of New York by, 303, 304 ; disappoints the English 
ministry by his methods in America, 304-300; statement 
of, in his defence, 305; letters to, 306-308; directed to 
make attack on New England, 307; took Chattcrton Hill, 
316; took Fort Washington, 318; joined Cornwallis at 
New Brunswick, 320; made Knight Companion in the 
Order of the Bath, 320; plans for keeping New Jersey, 
324; Hessians at Trenton, 324; approved plan of ministry 
to assist northern expedition, 331, 332; letter to Carleton 
and reply, 333; manoeuvres at New York, 334; letter to 
Burgoyne falls into hands of Washington, .335 ; sails out of 
Delaware Bay, 336; fights battle of BrandywSne, 339; 
reasons for not assisting Burgoyne, 341; at Warren Tav- 
ern, 343; enters Philadelphia, 344; asks to be recalled, 
346; Mischianza given in his honor, 360; returns to Eng- 
land, 363; demands committee of inquiry, 364; his de- 
fence, 366 

Hudson Valley, efforts to secure control of, 291, 292 

Hutchinson, Governor, 57, 111 


Independence, New England for, 21; repeal of Stamp Act ad- 
vances, 79; newspapers advocate, 107; arguments for and 
against, 107-109; majority of patriots for moderation, 108, 
135, 136; Reed, Dickinson, and Cushing on, 108; Declaration 
of, and its doctrines, 149; not original with Jefferson, 150; 

INDEX 433 

patriot party moving towards, 169; Washington's statement 
on, 172; Franklin's statement on, 172-174; John Wesley's 
pamphlet on, 174; Dr. Eliot and Dean Tucker on, 175; John 
Adams on, 175; colonists afraid of, 180; real intention as to, 
169-181; arguments for and against, 180; stumbling block to 
loyalists, 230; Congress decided to declare, 297; arguments of 
some patriots against, 297, 300 
Ireland, 211, 258, 259 


Jay, John, 310 
Jefferson, 149, 150, 238 
Johnson, Dr., 203, 206, 208, 210 
Jones, Judge, of New York, 28, 358 
Paul, 270, 405 


Kalm visits America, 31 

Kidd, Captain, 80 

King, the, charters granted by, 129; arguments on power of, 130; 

dispensing power, 131; colonists wish to be ruled by, 181 
King's Mountain, battle of, 411 
Knight, Mrs. 267 

Lafayette, Marquis de, 164, 340, 375, 389, 413, 420 

Laurens, Henry, 406 

Laws, Captain, 282 

Lee, General Charles, 310, 316, 321, 351, 372, 375 

Richard Henry, 287 

Light-Horse Harry, 385 
Lexington, battle of, 220, 228 
"Liberty" (sloop) seized, 49, 91 
Library, Philadelphia, 184 
Lincoln, General, 382 
Locke, John, 46, 138 
Logan, Mrs. Deborah, 300 
Long Island, battle of, 259, 301, 311 

Loyalists, 155, 160, 162, 167, 170, 180, 229-237, 240-243, 249, 300 
Lynch law, 162, 167, 168 


434 INDEX 


Manufacturing, 41, 51 

Marion, 387 

Massachusetts, freedom of, 19 ; charter of, 20 ; pine-tree shillings 
of, 20; religion of , 20 ; English oath of allegiance, 20 ; circular 
letter of, 87; violation of charter, and charter suspended, 104; 
punished for destruction of tea, 113, 114-121; charter changed, 
120; results expected by England from punishment of, 122, 
123; calls for assistance from other colonies, 123; civil gov- 
ernment ceased in, 213 

Matthews, General, 382 

Mayhew, Rev. Dr., 58 

Mercer, General, 327 

Mischianza, 360 

Mobs, houses of loyalists robbed by, 157 ; judges insulted by, 157 ; 
men ridden on fence-rails, tarred, and feathered, 158; many 
saved from, by yielding, 1GO; politeness of, in South, 159; 
carry off Colonel Willard, 161 ; note from American Archives 
on, 161; Captain Davis tarred and feathered by, 101; promi- 
nent men regretted action of, 163; cause doubt aboiit rights of 
man, 165, 166 

Monmouth, battle of, 375 

Montesquieu, 46, 138 

Montgomery, General, 272, 279, 283 

Montreal abandoned by Carleton to Montgomery, 279 

Morgan, General, 209, 273, 281, 283, 285, 412, 414 

Morris, Robert, 27, 165, 298 

Morristown Heights, 328 

Moultrie, Colonel, 294 

Murray, Mrs. Robert, 314, 315 

Mutiny Act, 81, 82 


Nature, meaning of word, 152 
Navigation acts, 35-38 
Newport, 290, 291, 324, 378 
New York, 58, 81, 82, 314, 315, 329, 331 
Non-importing associations revived, 93, 94 
Norfolk sacked and burned, 299, 382 
. North, Lord, 83, 222, 304, 423 

INDEX 435 

Otis, James, 43, 86 

Old South Church, 112, 249 

Paint, paper, and glass act, 85, 87, 89, 90, 94 

Paoli, massacre at, 343 

Paper money in colonies, 28, 29 

Parker, Sir Peter, 294 

Parliament, 128, 130-133 

Peace, British proposals of, in 1778, 370-372 

Pennsylvania, charter of, 129 

Percy, Lord, 295 

Philadelphia, 165, 182, 184, 347, 373 

Pickens, 387 

Pigot, General, 251, 256, 328 

Piracy, 30, 31 

Population, 18, 69 

Portland burned by Lieutenant Mowatt, 299 

Post-office, 71 

Prescott, Colonel, 251 

Princeton, battle of, 327 

Prisoners, 283-285 

Puffendorf, 46 

Putnam, 251, 269 


Quebec Act, 121 

expedition against, 271-288 
Quincy, Josiah, 100 


Rail, Colonel, 324, 326 

Randolph, Edward, 38 

Representation, 61-75 

Revere, Paul, 185, 226 

Rhode Island, 19, 105 

Richmond, Duke of, 371 

Riflemen, companies of, raised, 260-264, 411 

Rights of man, 46, 136-154 

Robertson, General, 365 

436 INDEX 

Eochambeau, Count, 389, 421 
Eockingham, Lord, 11, 82, 371 
Eousseau, 150-153 
Eussia, 406 


Salaries of governors, 22-25 
Saratoga, battle of, 355 
Seabury, Eev. Samuel, 159 
Severity, policy of, 372-379 
Schuyler, General, 272 
Shippen, Miss Margaret, 394 
Smith, Adam, 39 

Joshua, 396 

Matthew, 273 

Provost, 165 

Smuggling, 40-50, 85, 91 
Soldiers in Boston, 97-100 
South Carolina taken by British, 385 

Spain assists the patriots, 357 ; declares war against England, 406 
Stamp Act, 54, 56, 58-75, 77, 79 
Stanwix, Port, 355 
Stark, General, 251 
Staten Island, 301 
Stay laws, 29 
St. Leger, 355 
Stony Point, taking of, 384 
Strategy of British government, 289-292 
Suffolk resolutions, 185-188 
Sugar, duties on, 39, 45 
Sullivan, General, 312, 378 
Sumter, 387 


Tarleton, 286, 414 

Taxation, 51-55, 63, 71-77, 87, 108 

Tea, 102-114 

Tea-ships, 109-112 

Three Eivers, battle of, 285 

Tobacco, 34, 40 

Townsend, Charles, 84, 85 

INDEX 437 

Treason, trial for, to be held in England, 92, 93; punishments 

for, 240, 241 

Trenton, battle of, 324-326 
Trial by jury, 47, 48 
Tryon ravages Connecticut, 383 
Tucker, Dean, 109, 207, 211 


Valley Forge, 348 
Van Schaack, Peter, 28, 151, 170 
Vaughan, General, 313 
Virginia, 21, 81, 127, 128, 382 


Ward, General, 251 

Washington, of Whig legislative set, 27 ; letter of, while attend- 
ing Congress, 172; placed in command at Cambridge, 258; 
made general, 259; force of, at Cambridge, 293; amazed at 
Howe's action, 294; writes of Virginians, 299; at New York, 
310; at Brooklyn Heights, 311 ; escape from Brooklyn Heights, 
316; at White Plains, 316; retreat towards Philadelphia, 319; 
crossing Delaware, 325; in New Jersey, 327, 328; at Falls of 
Schuylkill, 332; at CoryeH's Ferry, 336; uncertain as to 
Howe's southward movement, 336; parades through Philadel- 
phia, 338; fights battle of Brandywine, 339; Warren Tavern, 
343; at Germantown, 344; fights battle of Monmouth, 375; 
moves against Cornwallis, 422 

West Point, important strategic position, 292 

White Marsh, 346 

Winthrop, Connecticut charter obtained by, 19 

Wooster, General, 285 

Writs of assistance, 43 

Wyoming, massacre of, 379 

Yorktown, 423 





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